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27 April 2016

MACOM sues Infineon over Nitronex GaN technology for 4G/LTE and 5G networks

MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings Inc of Lowell, MA, USA (which makes semiconductors, components and subassemblies for analog RF, microwave, millimeter-wave and photonic applications) has initiated legal action against Germany's Infineon Technologies AG and US-based International Rectifier (acquired by Infineon in 2015) to defend its rights to use the patented gallium nitride on silicon (GaN) technology developed by Nitronex LLC of Durham, NC, USA (acquired by MACOM for $26m in February 2014) in MACOM's core markets. GaN technology promises to improve network data service and cell coverage of 4G/LTE and 5G base-stations while reducing their energy consumption and associated carbon footprint, says MACOM.

In the lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, it is alleged that Infineon has attempted to interfere with and usurp MACOM's rights under certain agreements between Nitronex and International Rectifier. "Nitronex and IR, and later, MACOM and IR, successfully collaborated for many years. Problems developed only after Infineon acquired IR and began to try to 'renegotiate' the Nitronex-IR agreements to reduce MACOM's rights," says MACOM's president & CEO John Croteau. "When MACOM declined to accede to Infineon's demands, Infineon concocted claims to interfere with our rights under the agreements," he alleges. 

"Infineon's behavior is clear validation that MACOM's GaN technology – the product of 15 years and over $100m in investment – is at the tipping point of market adoption, threatening large incumbents like Infineon," continues Croteau. "This has caused Infineon to engage in strong-arm tactics designed to retard, rather than accelerate, innovation," he believes. "We submit that such business practices are unethical and anti-competitive and will strenuously oppose them as a matter of course." 

MACOM's suit against Infineon includes claims for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, declaratory judgment of contractual rights, and intentional interference with contract. Among other relief, MACOM is asking the court to grant it declaratory and injunctive relief confirming its rights under the Nitronex-IR agreements and ordering Infineon to assign to MACOM several Nitronex GaN patents.

MACOM asserts that it has built a successful business that has benefited both the electronics industry, consumers and the firm's shareholders through the acquisition and integration of companies and intellectual property rights that support its strategic plans. Defending its intellectual property rights is core to MACOM's success and it has previously prevailed against large company infringement of its rights, the firm adds.

See related items:

Infineon completes acquisition of International Rectifier

MACOM acquires Nitronex for $26m

Tags: M/A-COM Nitronex GaN-on-Si RF power transistors Infineon International Rectifier

Visit: www.infineon.com

Visit: www.irf.com

Visit: www.macom.com/gan

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