MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings, Inc., a leading supplier of high-performance analog RF, microwave, millimeterwave and photonic semiconductor products, announced that it has initiated legal action against Infineon Technologies and International Rectifier (acquired by Infineon in 2015), to defend its rights to use the pioneering and patented gallium nitride on silicon (GaN) technology developed by Nitronex (acquired by MACOM in 2014) in MACOM’s core markets. GaN is a next-generation technology that promises to improve network data service and cell coverage of 4G/LTE and 5G basestations while reducing their energy consumption and associated carbon footprint.
In its suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, MACOM alleges 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,” said John Croteau, President and Chief Executive Officer of MACOM. “When MACOM declined to accede to Infineon’s demands, Infineon concocted claims to interfere with our rights under the agreements.”
“Infineon’s behavior is clear validation that MACOM’s GaN technology – the product of 15 years and over $100 million in investment – is at the tipping point of market adoption, threatening large incumbents like Infineon. We believe this has caused Infineon to engage in strong-arm tactics designed to retard, rather than accelerate, innovation,” said Croteau. “We submit that such business practices are unethical and anti-competitive and will strenuously oppose them as a matter of course,” added Croteau.
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 MACOM declaratory and injunctive relief confirming its rights under the Nitronex-IR agreements and ordering Infineon to assign to MACOM several Nitronex GaN patents.
MACOM has built a highly-successful business that has benefited both the electronics industry, consumers and MACOM’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 MACOM has previously prevailed against large company infringement of its rights.