Employees: As of December 31, 2008, we employed 579 employees located in the United States, Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea and Europe.
Patent foundation: "As of January 12, 2009, we had approximately 240 patents issued and pending, of which 43 have been issued in the United States."
Material Litigation: O2Micro, Inc.
Since November 2000, we have been engaged in multiple legal proceedings involving patent infringement claims with O2Micro, Inc. and its parent corporation, O2Micro International Limited (referred to hereinafter as “O2Micro”). All of these claims relate to our CCFL backlight inverter products. For further information regarding the history of these legal proceedings, refer to our previous filings on Forms 10-K and related amendments, 10-Q and 8-K. In the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, O2Micro alleged that certain of our CCFL products infringe O2Micro’s ‘722 patent. On October 30, 2007, following the jury’s verdict, the Court entered judgment that all of the ‘722 patent claims asserted by O2Micro against us are invalid and denied all post-trial motions. Subsequently, O2Micro filed an appeal, and we filed a cross-appeal with the Federal Circuit. The appeals are currently pending. On May 1, 2007, we filed for declaratory judgment relief in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against O2Micro that certain of our CCFL products do not infringe O2Micro’s ‘129 patent and that the ‘129 patent is invalid and unenforceable. On August 20, 2008, the parties filed a joint stipulation to a dismissal with prejudice of their respective claims for relief in which O2Micro covenants not to assert or reassert its ‘129 patent against us or our direct and indirect customers for infringement by our series of power inverter controller products. On September 30, 2008, based on information and belief that O2Micro had alleged to a customer that certain of our inverter controller products infringe O2Micro’s patents, we filed for declaratory judgment relief in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against O2Micro that those products do not infringe O2Micro’s 6,856,519 (‘519) patent family. On February 11, 2009, O2Micro filed a counterclaim against us and our customers that certain of our inverter controller products infringe three patents in the ‘519 patent family and O2Micro’s 7,417,382 (‘382) patent. On December 15, 2008, O2Micro filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission alleging the patent infringement of the ‘519 and ‘382 patents against certain of our products. This case is still in the early proceedings. In addition to the U.S. litigation described above, O2Micro has brought various legal proceedings against us in Taiwan based upon a Taiwan patent. We previously posted cash bonds of approximately $7.9 million with the Taiwan Courts in support of our counter-injunctions and to prevent O2 from seizing our assets. In July 2008, the parties agreed to cease all provisional remedial disputes against each other and allow the parties to retrieve the bonds posted. As a result of the agreement, we retrieved the bonds, totaling approximately $7.9 million, in the second half of 2008.
Material Litigation: Linear Technology Corporation
On July 1, 2008, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware issued a judgment as a matter of law that we did not breach its October 1, 2005 Settlement and License Agreement with Linear. We plan to seek recovery of our attorney fees and costs from Linear, pursuant to a prevailing party attorneys’ fees provision in the Settlement and License Agreement. However, there can be no assurance that we can be successful in obtaining such recovery. The court also found as a matter of law that we did not willfully infringe the patent claims of U.S. Patent Numbers 5,481,178 and 6,580,258 asserted by Linear against MPS’ accused MP1543 product, which has been discontinued. However, the jury returned a verdict that an evaluation board containing the previously discontinued MP1543 product had directly infringed the asserted patent claims and that Linear’s patents mentioned above are valid. The parties had stipulated to a total of ten dollars in nominal patent infringement damages in the event that Linear prevailed in that dispute. The court has not issued a final judgment concerning the patent infringement and validity claims.
Material Litigation: Chip Advanced Technology Inc.
On December 12, 2007, we filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Chip Advanced Technology Inc. (“CAT”), asserting that CAT willfully infringed a MPS patent that enables efficient low voltage, low current power conversions, such as DC-DC step down converters. In the complaint, MPS seeks unspecified damages and a court-ordered injunction against future infringement by CAT. On September 16, 2008, we amended our complaint to add trade secret misappropriation claims against CAT. Through this lawsuit, MPS intends to vigorously protect and enforce its intellectual property. As the case is in its early stages, we are not able to determine the outcome of the litigation.