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NOV.-DEC. 2019      TAP TIMES          -8-          As Analog Devices learned, losing before
                                                                the ITC may result in cumbersom, expen-
                                                                sive rulings that require additional inven-
                  Bottom-gating (from 7)
                                                                tory bookkeeping.
        tributed to the finished component’s cost.

                                                                Looking for an “out”
                                                                Incredibly, Analog said that because it con-
        Whisker wires
        The expense of the traditional transfer                 ducted final testing, packaging and sales
                                                                of its imported chips at its then Norwood,
        molding process was due to the need to
        protect the delicate wires connecting the               Mass. plant, “it is a member of the do-
                                                                mestic industry and for this reason alone
        transistor terminals with the conductor                 should not have a remedy imposed upon
        leads to the external circuitry.
                                                                it.”
        A key, and perhaps the most desirable
        aspect of TI’s ‘027 patent, was the pro-                This was an excuse the ITC’s investigating
                                                                attorneys refused to buy. The Commission
        cess’ ability to protect the the whisker wire           also required Analog to report the quantity
        leads.
                                                                of bottom-gated parts packaged to ensure
                                                                it did not exceed its earlier established
        This is accomplished because the fluid
        plastic is introduced into a part of the                licensing limits.
        mold cavity remote from the transistor and              The contentious patent fight (and royal-
        whisker-wire leads.
                                                                ties) for TI’s revolutionary bottom-gating
                                                                patent expired on August 23, 1994, 17
        Cypress, IDT, LSI Logic and VLSI Technol-
        ogy were known as the “California respon-               years after the patent was issued.
        dents” during the ITC hearings.  Analog
        Devices, was and is still is based in Mas-              Substantive litigation
        sachusetts.
                                                                It had provided additional revenue for TI
                                                                and was a movable feast for the squadrons
                                                                of lawyers who argued the patent infringe-
        Most companies acquired                                 ment case on both sides.  It was also ar-
        Cypress Semiconductor, IDT, LSI Logic and               guably the most substantive litigation ever
        VLSI Technology have all disappeared as                 to affect the IC packaging industry.
        independent companies.

                                                                A legal decision as most civil defendants
                                                                and plaintiffs soon learn is that a case is
                                                                not decided until it’s over.


                                                                While TI was generally pleased with the
                                                                ITC’s ruling, several of the Texas com-
                                                                pany’s patent claims were denied, which
                                                                lessened the amount of damages it could
                                                                collect.


                                                                In fact, the company later sued Samsung
                                                                before the ITC claiming the giant Japanese
        Analog  Devices  broke  ground  on  its  new  Wilmington,   company had also infringed ‘027.
        Mass., headquarters in July 2018.  (Analog Devices)                                            Next page
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