AUSTIN, TX, USA – April 13, 2006 – Luminary Micro (www.luminarymicro.com), a fabless semiconductor company that designs, markets, and sells ARM®Cortex-M3™-based microcontrollers, announces today that the company strongly believes that the 28-pin members of its Stellaris™ family of microcontrollers do not infringe the patents cited as the basis of Microchip Technology Inc.’s alleged lawsuit against Luminary Micro. Luminary Micro is awaiting information from the Court regarding this alleged lawsuit, and has received no communication from Microchip either prior to or after Microchip’s press release claiming that a law suit had been filed.
“Microchip chose not to approach anyone at Luminary Micro before filing this last-minute, late-hour press release, which, quite honestly, would have been the stand-up thing to do,” said Jim Reinhart, Luminary Micro’s CEO. “Two weeks after we launch our products and unveil our company, Microchip makes a public announcement about an alleged lawsuit based on patents that had been challenged months ago by Zilog. Zilog’s challenge of these three patents had enough validity that the U.S Patent Office agreed to reexamine the patents, subsequently finding that two of the patents had a ‘substantial question of patentability’, and the third had all claims rejected outright.
“As evidenced by Microchip’s decision to issue a press release rather than talk to us, we believe this is simply a case of the big corporate bully trying to stifle innovation and competition in the marketplace and scare our customers. Regardless of what claims they may have filed – which we still have not seen – we strongly believe that our products do not infringe, and we continue undaunted.”
Luminary Micro’s announcement of the first members of the Stellaris family of microcontrollers on March 27 brought, for the first time ever, 32-bit performance at 8/16-bit prices to the embedded microcontroller market, with prices starting at just $1.00. Because Stellaris microcontrollers are based on the ARM architecture, Luminary Micro customers can standardize on the world’s favorite embedded architecture and reap the benefits of code portability across their product line. With code compatibility starting at a dollar in the Stellaris family and reaching to a gigahertz with ARM Cortex-A8 solutions from other vendors, no other architecture in the world offers the breadth of code compatibility that is available in the ARM architecture. Luminary Micro will be introducing additional new members of the Stellaris family of microcontrollers very soon.
Jean Anne Booth, Luminary Micro’s Chief Marketing Officer, said the timing of Microchip’s press release naturally raises some questions.
“Just after Luminary Micro’s first 32-bit product announcement and first sales, Microchip issues a press release alleging a lawsuit based on patents already challenged by Zilog,” Booth points out. “This makes us question whether Microchip is attempting to supress innovation and competition to ensure that embedded customers remain locked into Microchip’s legacy 8-bit proprietary solutions.
“Customers tell us they desire the many benefits of consolidation of their product line on the ARM architecture, which Luminary Micro brings to the market with our ground-breaking Stellaris line of microcontrollers. Many customers have said they appreciate Luminary Micro’s innovation and furtherance of an open, standardized microcontroller market.”
About Luminary Micro and Stellaris
Founded in 2004, Luminary Micro, Inc. designs, markets and sells ARM Cortex-M3-based microcontrollers (MCUs). Austin, Texas-based Luminary Micro is ARM’s lead partner for Cortex-M3, delivering the world’s first silicon implementation of the Cortex-M3 core. Luminary Micro’s introduction of the Stellaris family of products provides 32-bit performance for the same price as current 8- and 16-bit microcontroller designs. With entry-level pricing at $1.00 for an ARM-based MCU, Luminary Micro’s Stellaris product line allows for standardization that eliminates future architectural upgrades or software tools changes.