Philips files suit against six chip makers

Philips files suit against six chip makers

Philips Electronics North America, filed a suit this week against six electronics companies, charging that they infringed, and induced others to infringe, on a Philips' patent.

Philips alleges that the six companies - Analog Devices, Cirrus Logic, Cypress Semiconductor, Fairchild Semiconductor, Linear Technology and Standard Microsystems -- are infringing its patent on the Inter-Integrated Circuit, or I2C, Bus, which is used to connect chips on circuit boards in consumer electronics, such as televisions, audio equipment and telephones.

The companies are infringing Philips' patent by using the I2C technology without permission from, or payment to, Philips, according to a Philips spokesman. Monetary damages are expected in the tens of millions of dollars, said the spokesman.

A spokesman for Cirrus Logic said the company had only become aware of the lawsuit Monday morning and did not yet have a statement, though it would issue one soon. Fairchild declined to comment, citing a company policy of not commenting on pending litigation. Representatives of the other companies named were not immediately available.

Philips licenses the I2C technology to more than 50 partner companies and, through its licensing efforts, has seen I2C become widespread in consumer electronics.

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