SigmaTel Patents Confirmed to be Valid and Infringed by Actions' Chips
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sept. 15, 2006 -- SigmaTel Inc., (NASDAQ:SGTL), a leader in mixed-signal multimedia solutions, today announced that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued orders finding that SigmaTel's two patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,366,522 and 6,633,187, are infringed by system-on-chip controllers for portable digital music players manufactured by Actions Semiconductor Co., Ltd., based in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, and that infringing players containing Actions 207X, 208X and 209X chips should be excluded from entry into the United States.
On March 21, 2006, the Honorable Paul J. Luckern, the Administrative Law Judge, provided an Initial Determination that SigmaTel's patents were valid and infringed. Today, the full panel of the International Trade Commission re-confirmed that both patents were valid and infringed. The Commission ordered that the infringing Actions chips not be imported into the United States. The Commission also extended the exclusion order to prohibit the importation of MP3 players, with two GB of memory or less, containing such chips. The United States Customs Services will assist in enforcing the ban. MP3 players imported in violation of the ITC's exclusion order may be seized by the U.S. Government and subject to forfeiture.
"We are delighted that the International Trade Commission has issued a ruling in favor of SigmaTel," said Ron Edgerton, chairman and chief executive officer of SigmaTel. "The ITC's exclusion order prohibiting importation of infringing MP3 players containing Actions chips vindicates the position we have held since January 2005 and protects our intellectual property."
Today's ruling and exclusion order covers Actions 207X series (including the 2073 and 2075), 208X series (including the 2085, 2087, 2089, 2051, 2053 and 2180) and 209X series (including the 2095, 2097 and 2099) of multimedia devices, as well as infringing players containing those chips.
"SigmaTel has an extensive patent portfolio and believes that the protection of intellectual property encourages innovation. We continue to invest in research and development to create superior technologies and provide future growth," Mr. Edgerton added. "We will continue to aggressively pursue our global licensing program. Competitors' claims of being able to design around our new and future patents are suspect, as several important SigmaTel patents have issued since our competitors' recent designs have been finalized. In addition, designing around a pending patent is very difficult since the claims of that patent have not been finalized. We challenge anyone who claims to have designed around our patents to provide proof of such claims."
Multiple companies have reached licensing agreements with SigmaTel during the past six months, including Techsplosion Ltd., a UK-based consumer electronic retailer/distributor, MP MAN, a leading European electronics manufacturer, and DSG International, the largest specialist electrical retailer in Europe. All have agreed to use SigmaTel-based products, and/or pay a royalty to the company for use of infringing chips. These combined companies sell millions of MP3 music players each year. Since May 1, 2005, the U.S. Patent Office has issued or allowed 24 SigmaTel patents. In addition, SigmaTel has filed 126 U.S. patent applications since May 1, 2005. Many of these applications were also filed in Europe and Asia.
Please visit http://www.sigmatel.com/about/patentedtech.asp, for specific patent information.
SigmaTel, Inc. a fabless semiconductor company headquartered in Austin, Texas, designs, develops, and markets proprietary, analog intensive, mixed-signal ICs for a variety of digital multimedia products in the consumer electronics and computing markets, including portable compressed audio players, such as MP3 players, notebook and desktop PCs, digital video cameras, multi-function peripheral products, digital televisions, and set-top boxes. SigmaTel provides complete, system-level solutions that include highly-integrated ICs, customizable firmware and software, software development tools, reference designs, and applications support. The Company's focus is on providing system-level solutions that enable customers to rapidly introduce and offer electronic products that are small, light-weight, power-efficient, reliable, and cost-effective. SigmaTel is ISO 9001:2000 certified and is committed to providing customers with high performance, quality products along with superior customer service.