ITC Determination on Patent Infringement Lawsuit Favors Actions Semiconductor in SigmaTel Patent Dispute
ZHUHAI, China, Aug. 4 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (Nasdaq: ACTS), one of the largest fabless IC companies in China, today announced that the United States International Trade Commission (the ''ITC'') has issued a Determination in favor of Actions in the patent infringement lawsuit between Actions and SigmaTel (ITC-337-TA-538).
As previously reported in a press release dated June 20, 2006, the ITC modified a key claim construction under patent 522 and requested that the Honorable Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ, reconsider the infringement issue for certain products in light of the modified claim construction. After reconsidering the infringement issue, the ALJ has issued a Determination confirming that Actions' products utilizing current firmware 952436 do not infringe the disputed patent.
The Final Determination is expected to be issued by September 15, 2006. Until the Final Determination is issued, there will be no restrictions placed on the importation of Actions' integrated circuits.
Actions is very encouraged by this decision and commends the ALJ's pursuit of clarity on this issue. The Company fully anticipates that the Final Determination will uphold these findings relating to Actions' products utilizing current firmware 952436 as outlined in today's Determination. Most of Actions' current products have already adopted this firmware and do not infringe the said patent. Moreover, the Determination heightens Actions' belief that all of its new products do not infringe on any disputed patents held by third parties.
Following the Determination, Nan-Horng Yeh, Actions' Chief Executive Officer commented ''We hold the highest regard for intellectual property rights, both of others and our own. This Determination underscores the validity of our technology and products. Furthermore, our customers can continue to have full confidence in Actions' innovative technology and product offerings. Additionally, in order to protect our intellectual property rights for ourselves and our customers, we are aggressively building our patent portfolio through both internal development and acquisition.'' Mr. Yeh added, ''We look to the future with strength and feel confident in our new pipeline of affordable products utilizing high technology. Our diversification strategy centered around our core portable media player platform is on track and we continue to feel encouraged by our progress.''
Actions is on schedule to commence mass shipments of its recently announced 7500 series products that utilize 0.18 micron process technology in the next few weeks, and plans to introduce its 13 series products that provide high-end functionality at compelling price points by the end of 2006. The 7500 series products are targeted at the markets of the United States and Europe, and have already been well-received by the customers.
''While sales in to the U.S. represent less than 10% of Actions' current business, we continue to expand our product portfolio to address the increasing market demand for high-functionality, innovative portable consumer electronics and believe that we will enjoy continued success by offering high quality SoC solutions at Actions' cost advantage,'' continued Mr. Yeh.
Actions would like to thank its clients, suppliers and other partners for their continued support. Actions prides itself on its expanding world class team of engineers and its continued innovation of industry leading SoC solutions.
According to the poll of generationmp3, more than 43% of the MP3 users place the battery life as the top feature a MP3 player must have. Look at the current success of the Samsung Z5F which has 35 hours of battery life and a FM tuner. When this player comes to the US, it will be the ipod killer
In the aural products' market, sounds perfect is not better than sounds as good. 'Low-end' has always been the battle ground of the market. From ATJ2097 to ATJ2098, I believe the SNR upped 3dB to 93dB. I'm not sure even the best ears could tell the difference between 98dB and 93dB.
In China, most people bought MP3, MP3.5, or MP4 mainly as a learning tool, not just for entertainment. The demand comes from a broad spectrum of age group, and the growth will remain solid for years to come for this reason. If you look at ACTS' product development trajectory, you'll find the video is taking on increasing weight.
In the US robust music is never synonymous with its sonority but its psychological intensity and emotional impact. Therefore not everyone will spend the money for another 5dBs that doesn't do much more in utility.
If SGTL dwell on that last diminishing SNR difference, it'll be toast only sooner.
We are splitting hairs here when talking quality. iPod or other MP3 players are not targeting audiophiles, they are targeting folks who want to be able to have good portable music piped thru headset or relatively inexpensive audio gear. And while 35 hrs run time sounds cool, tell me an application that needs that kind of battery life. Not knocking the IP that SGTL put into their chips, just saying that the global market for 90%-95% of these want it good but as inexpensive as possible.
SigmaTel Press Release: ITC Issues Another Interim Ruling
Friday August 4, 1:30 pm ET
Final Decision Regarding Exclusion Order Still Expected in September
AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 4, 2006--SigmaTel, Inc. (NASDAQ:SGTL - News), a leader in mixed-signal multimedia semiconductors, announced today that the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) Administrative Law Judge issued a ruling regarding Action Semiconductor, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACTS - News) or "Actions" chips, when programmed with a particular firmware version, do not infringe SigmaTel's 6,366,522 patent. This ruling still must be confirmed by the full ITC.
This ruling does not affect the full ITC's previous ruling that all of the accused Actions products and firmware versions infringe SigmaTel's 6,633,187 patent. The decision also does not affect the ITC's ruling that other versions of Actions firmware infringe the 6,366,522 patent.
When the full ITC issued its decision in June, it did not rule on the remedy portion of the investigation. The ITC stated that it would rule on whether an exclusion order would issue in September 2006.
"Even after today's ruling, the ITC still believes all of the Actions products and firmware versions we previously accused of infringement still infringe one or more SigmaTel patents. Based on these previous infringement findings, the ITC still has a very firm basis from which to issue an exclusion order in September," says Ron Edgerton, chairman and chief executive officer of SigmaTel.
This ITC action is only a small part of SigmaTel's global intellectual property ("IP") enforcement program. SigmaTel is preparing to file border seizure actions in certain European countries and additional lawsuits in China to enforce its Moon-Hwang patent. New patents continually issue to fuel SigmaTel's IP enforcement program. During 2006, new patents specific to the portable digital audio industry have issued and SigmaTel expects more to follow. In prior years, SigmaTel's patent portfolio was not as focused on portable digital audio. But now, based on patent filings made years ago, new patents are starting to issue that are specific to the portable digital audio market.
The growth potential of ACTS in the US market is quite good, since it hasn't done much about it due to the ITC case. The channel is right there, and ACTS has the goods, so I expect ACTS' growth to accelerate during the 2nd half of the year.
You assume that the US market even wants ACTS products. They might be $1.00 chaper than SGTL, but the difference in audio quality, power consumption, user interface and general experience is something that most Americans will gladly pay a little extra for.