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Sidense Beats Kilopass in Court Again!

Sidense Beats Kilopass in Court Again!
by Daniel Nenni on 01-12-2014 at 12:00 am

The technology headlines in 2013 were often stolen by frivolous legal actions that made little or no sense to me at all. Patent Trolling is at an all-time high inside the fabless semiconductor ecosystem and as a result litigation reform is coming to Silicon Valley, believe it.

Currently working its way through the legislative process is the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), the major provisions of this bill are:

  • Require specificity in patent lawsuits
  • Make patent ownership more transparent
  • Make losing plaintiffs pay legal fees
  • Delay discovery to control costs
  • Protect end users of the products in question

Not so coincidentally the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington ordered a judge to analyze whether Kilopass Technology Inc. should pay legal fees incurred by Sidense Corp.

“Too many patent owners are bringing claims that are meritless and then settling for a nuisance value with the expectation their claims would never be tested,” said Edward Reines, a lawyer with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in Redwood Shores, California, who also teaches at Stanford Law School. “The intrepid defendant who fights and wins ends up not being compensated for their fees.”

As the story goes, in May of 2010 Kilopass took legal action against Sidense Corp for infringement of Kilopass’ 1T antifuse technology. Kilopass and Sidense design programmable non-volatile memory (NVM). The patent in question describes two “doped semiconductor regions” that define a channel. The comparable Sidense NVM employs a single doped semiconductor with a shallow trench isolation insulator. In April 2013 the case was resolved by judgment of non-infringement on Kilopass’ patent claims and its dismissal, with prejudice, of all remaining claims against Sidense.

 Unfortunately, during the case it was discovered that Kilopass was advised against legal action stating that Sidense had redesigned the memory cells in question but they filed anyway. Three years and millions of dollars in legal fees later (money that could have been used for research and development) the lawyers will continue to argue and generate even more billable hours determining if Kilopass should pay legal costs and how much that will be.

It said the court must consider “whether Kilopass acted in bad faith in light of the totality of the circumstances” even if there’s no specific evidence of wrongdoing, Circuit Judge Kathleen O’Malley wrote.

Federal appeals court: ‘Patent trolls’ should foot legal …
Patent Suit Losers Should Pay Legal Costs More Often, Court Says

The press had a field day with this which suggests to me that change is coming, absolutely. The articles I made it through are listed above but there are dozens more if you Google around a bit. Sidense and Kilopass both have records of this legal adventure on their websites as well. The Sidense site is more up to date since they won of course:


More Articles by Daniel Nenni…..

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