Intersil Counter Sues Agere in Patent Squabble

In an ongoing patent infringement battle, Intersil Wednesday filed patent infringement counterclaims against Agere Systems.

The suit was filed with the United States District Court in Delaware, the court where Agere Systems filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Intersil on October 17, 2002.

“We are committed to protecting and defending Intersil’s patent rights in WLAN and semiconductor technologies to the fullest extent of the law,” said Rich Beyer, president and CEO of Intersil Corporation.

A spokesperson for Allentown, Pa.-based Agere was not immediately available for comment.

Intersil’s counterclaims say it was Agere – not Intersil – that infringed its Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) and semiconductor technology patents. Intersil said it believes Agere’s wireless LAN products infringe Intersil’s WLAN patents and that Agere’s semiconductor products and processes, including its BiCMOS (bipolar complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) and CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) products and manufacturing processes, infringe Intersil’s semiconductor technology patents.

According to the October 17 complaint filed by Agere, the major patents in question include:

  • Patent No. 5,862,182 — “OFDM Digital Communications System Using Complimentary Codes,” a method and apparatus for encoding and decoding data using complementary codes, issued January 19, 1999.
  • Patent No. 6,404,732 — “Digital Modulation System Using Modified Orthogonal Codes to Reduce Autocorrelation,” a method and apparatus for encoding and decoding data with a symbol produced from orthogonal symbols and complementary codes, issued June 11, 2002
  • Patent No. 6,452,958 B1 — “Digital Modulation System Using Extended Code Set,” a method and apparatus for encoding and decoding data with a code set having an extended number of codes and a complementary code; issued just last month, on September 17, 2002.

The other three patents are No. 5,128,960 on recovering a clock signal from a data symbol in a wireless channel; No. 5,420,599 that grounds inactive antennas so they don’t interfere with active antennas; and No. 6,067,291 for establishing variable carrier detect threshold and defer threshold.

The two companies have been trading legal barbs for several months now. In a related suit filed October 30 in United States District Court in Philadelphia, PA, Irvine, Calif.-based Intersil accused Agere of “theft of trade secrets.”

That complaint charged misappropriation in regarding to Choice Medium Access Control (CMAC) technology.

As in the previous lawsuit, Intersil is seeking to collect damages for past infringement and to prevent Agere from continuing to use Intersil’s patented technologies.

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