Tuesday, May 26, 2009

U.S. District Court Orders Hynix to Post Security for Infringing Rambus Patents

LOS ALTOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rambus Inc. (Nasdaq:RMBS) today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has ordered Hynix Semiconductor (000660.KS) to secure the judgment amount of approximately $397 million through a combination of a bond and a lien on a Hynix property in South Korea for infringing Rambus patents. The bonded amount of $250M is required to be posted within 45 days of the order. The lien will only serve as security if a new appraisal of the Hynix property shows a fair market value of at least double the amount of the judgment not secured by the bond. If the appraisal is inadequate, Rambus may ask the Court to substitute other security. Final judgment in this matter was entered against Hynix on March 10, 2009 in the amount of approximately $134M for infringement through December 31, 2005 and approximately $215M for its infringement from January 1, 2006 through January 31, 2009. In addition, the Court awarded about $48M in pre-judgment interest to Rambus.

In addition, the Court ordered Hynix to pay compulsory license fees into escrow pending the outcome of the appeal Hynix filed in this matter. The Court ordered Hynix to pay Rambus royalties on net sales after January 31, 2009 and before April 18, 2010 of 1% for SDR SDRAM and 4.25% for DDR SDRAM memory devices. The latter rate applies to DDR, DDR2, DDR3, GDDR, gDDR2 and GDDR3 SDRAM devices, as well as DDR SGRAM devices. Damages and the compulsory license apply to U.S. infringements of the patent claims in suit.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Private Semiconductor Companies (Updated 6-8-2009)

In addition to public corporations, we gather intelligence on private semiconductor companies. While start-up funding has slowed considerably and the demise of UWB took a toll, here is my working list which is North America centric, by no means complete and contains a few names which are have halted operation. If you would like to add a company to the list, offer new insights or ask for additional research, please send us an e-mail.

Active Semi
Analog Bits
Bay Microsystems
BCD Semiconductor
Black Sand
Cactus Custom Analog Designs
Comsys Mobile
Custom One Design
Custom Silicon Solutions
Desert Microtechnology
Fresco Logic
GCT Semiconductor
Greyrock Technology
Integral Wave
Integrated Memory Logic
Magna Lynx
NanoAmp Solutions
Parade Technologies
Parallel Semiconductor
Plastic Logic
Rapid Bridge
Sequoia Communications
Silicon Clocks
Sound Design Technologies
Stream Processors (SPI)
Tag Array
VT Silicon

Friday, May 22, 2009

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruling on LTC, AATI and the International Trade Commission

Link to PDF of Court Opinion

MILPITAS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Linear Technology Corporation (Nasdaq:LLTC - News), a leading supplier of high-performance analog integrated circuits, today announced that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) has issued its opinion in Linear's and Advanced Analogic Technologies, Inc.'s (AATI) cross appeals from the investigation that Linear brought against AATI at the United States International Trade Commission (Commission) directed to infringement of one of Linear’s power and battery saving patented technologies. The Federal Circuit found that AATI's 1143 and 1146 family of parts infringe Linear's U.S. Patent No. 6580,258 ('258 patent) and that Linear’s litigated claims 2, 3, and 34 are valid. The Federal Circuit also reversed the Commission's finding that AATI's 1151 and 1265 family of parts do not infringe Linear’s asserted method claim 34. Similarly, the Federal Circuit reversed the Commission's finding that Linear’s claim 35 was invalid and not infringed. The Federal Circuit's decision expands the scope of the exclusion order from the United States that the Commission issued against AATI to encompass their 1146 family of products and raises the possibility that the Commission might find the remaining accused AATI products infringe Linear’s patent as well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ITC Rules Tessera Patents Valid and Infringed

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tessera Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSRA) today announced that the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a final determination in the action brought by Tessera against certain wireless manufacturers, Investigation No. 337-TA-605 (Wireless ITC action), finding Tessera’s asserted patents are valid and infringed. The ITC issued a Limited Exclusion Order that prohibits the importation of certain infringing electronic devices that use Tessera’s patented technology, which are imported by or on behalf of the named respondents. The Commission also issued a Cease and Desist Order against Motorola, Qualcomm, Freescale and Spansion, directing them to cease their unfair acts including selling infringing articles out of their US inventories.

The respondents in the Wireless ITC action were ATI Technologies, Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., Motorola, Inc., Qualcomm, Inc., Spansion, Inc., Spansion, LLC and ST Microelectronics N.V. Tessera asserted infringement of two Tessera patents, U.S. Patent No. 6,433,419 (‘419) and U.S. Patent No. 5,852,326 (‘326).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Asyst Form 25 - Delisting

The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (the Exchange) has determined to remove from listing the common stock of Asyst Technologies, Inc. (the Company), effective at the opening of the trading session on May 29, 2009. Based on a review of the information provided by the Company, Nasdaq Staff determined that the Company no longer qualified for listing on the Exchange pursuant to Marketplace Rules 5100, 5110(b) and IM-5100-1. The Company was notified of the Staffs determination on April 21, 2009. The Company did not appeal the Staff determination to the Hearings Panel, and the Staff determination to delist the Company became final on April 30, 2009.

Monday, May 18, 2009

AMCC 8K - Signs development/acqusition agreement with Veloce Technologies

On May 17, 2009, Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (the “Company”) entered into agreements with Veloce Technologies, Inc. (“Veloce”) pursuant to which Veloce has agreed to perform development work for the Company on an exclusive basis for up to five years for cash and other consideration, including a warrant to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock, which would vest upon the achievement of certain performance and time-based milestones. Under a merger agreement between the Company and Veloce, which has been approved by Veloce’s Board of Directors and stockholders, the Company also agreed to acquire Veloce if certain performance milestones and delivery schedules set forth under the merger and other agreements are achieved. The Company also has the unilateral option to acquire Veloce in the event Veloce fails to meet the milestones and delivery schedules. Should the Company acquire Veloce pursuant to the merger agreement, the purchase price payable by the Company is estimated to be in the range of approximately $5 million to up to approximately $100 million, subject to adjustment. The final price would be based upon multiple performance, delivery and other timing criteria and could not be determined without reference to a number of future events and contingencies. The form of consideration used for the merger would be determined by the Company at the time of the merger. The merger agreement contains customary representations, warranties and covenants and may be terminated upon mutual agreement of the parties or unilaterally by the Company or Veloce if the other party fails to meet certain conditions set forth in the agreement. The agreements permit the Company to appoint one individual to serve on Veloce’s Board of Directors and Board committees.

MathStar 8K - Receives and rejects acqusition offer

On May 11, 2009, MathStar, Inc. received a letter containing an unsolicited proposal by PureChoice, Inc. (“PCI”) to enter into a merger transaction with MathStar (the “Merger”). As proposed by PCI, MathStar’s stockholders would receive cash consideration of $1.04 per share in the Merger for all of their MathStar shares.

MathStar’s Board considered and analyzed PCI’s Merger proposal. It concluded that PCI’s proposal was not acceptable because, among other reasons, the $1.04 per share price is less than the liquidation value of MathStar, including the value from any technology sale, and, in the Merger, MathStar’s shareholders would derive no value from MathStar’s net operating loss carryforwards. Thus, the Board rejected PCI’s Merger proposal as not being in the best interests of MathStar’s stockholders. The Board will continue to pursue strategic alternatives.

Note: PureChoice made a previous offer in October 2008.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gregory Bender and US Patent 5,103,188 (Updated)

In recent months, a fellow by the name of Gregory Bender has filed complaints of patent infringement against consumer product OEMs, service providers and semiconductor suppliers. The patent in question is US 5,103,188, "Buffered transconductance amplifier," filed almost 20 years ago. The growing list of defendants includes:

Infineon Technologies North America Corporation
NXP Semiconductors USA, Inc.
On Semiconductor Corporation
Silicon Laboratories, Inc.
AT&T Inc.
AT&T Mobility
Ericsson, Inc.
Sony-Ericsson Mobile Communications (USA), Inc.
Seagate Technologies
Western Digital Corporation
Hitachi America Ltd
Panasonic Corporation of North America
Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.
Toshiba America , Inc
Nokia Inc.
Cirrus Logic, Inc
International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc.
NEC Corporation of America
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.
Sharp Electronics Corporation

Friday, May 15, 2009

AMCC 8K - President/CEO resigns

On May 12, 2009, Mr. Kambiz Hooshmand resigned as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (the “Company”) and as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors. Dr. Paramesh Gopi, age 40, the Company’s Senior Vice President, Chief Operation Officer and member of the Company’s Board of Directors, succeeded Mr. Hooshmand as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer as of May 13, 2009.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

TI acquires Luminary Micro

Texas Instruments (TI) Incorporated (NYSE: TXN) announced today that it will expand its microcontroller (MCU) portfolio with the acquisition of Luminary Micro, the market-leading supplier of ARM Cortex-M3-based 32-bit MCUs. The addition of Luminary Micro's Stellaris(R) family of Cortex-M3 processors will accelerate TI's ability to provide the industry's most complete MCU portfolio. This acquisition means that customers can now enjoy the innovative capabilities of Stellaris MCUs along with the proven experience and technical strength TI brings as a global semiconductor provider.

Stellaris devices will allow TI to address mainstream 32-bit MCU markets, giving customers access to the general-purpose processing power of the industry-standard ARM Cortex-M3 core and the Stellaris family's advanced communication capabilities, including 10/100 Ethernet MAC+PHY, CAN, USB On-The-Go, USB Host/Device, SSI/SPI, UARTs, I2S, and I2C. The transaction closed on May 14, 2009.

Today's announcement is great news for our customers," said Jim Reinhart, general manager and former Luminary Micro CEO. "Moving forward, our customers not only benefit from the award-winning Stellaris family, but also enjoy the technology and manufacturing strength of TI, an experienced analog and embedded processing leader with a global footprint."

Jim Reinhart will lead TI's Catalog ARM MCU business and roadmap as part of TI's AEC organization. The Cortex-M3 microcontroller business will continue to operate from its site in Austin, Texas, which will be known as TI AEC Austin.

FTC Dismisses case agaiinst Rambus

Rambus Inc. (Nasdaq:RMBS), one of the world’s premier technology licensing companies specializing in high-speed memory architectures, today announced that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an order dismissing the remainder of its case against Rambus. This follows a recent denial of the Commission’s request for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court to review the Rambus case and brings the seven-year matter to a close.

In its order, the FTC indicated it would not pursue further proceedings against Rambus in this matter, stating “the Commission finds that further litigation in this matter would not be in the public interest."

The FTC originally brought charges against Rambus in 2002 relating to Rambus’ 1992-1995 participation in an industry standard setting committee, the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (“JEDEC”). A three-month trial was held in the spring of 2003 before then Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Stephen McGuire, who issued his initial decision exonerating Rambus with over 1,600 findings of fact in its favor in early 2004. The FTC’s own Complaint Counsel appealed the ALJ’s decision to the full Commission, which reversed the ALJ and found Rambus liable for violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act. Following Rambus’ appeal of that decision, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (CADC) vacated the FTC orders and the Supreme Court denied the Commission’s request for review.

Link to FTC announcement.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Micrel 8K - Buys back more stock from raider Obrem

On May 7, 2009, the Company and certain of the Company’s directors and an executive officer entered into a Stock Purchase Agreement, or the Purchase Agreement, with Obrem Capital Offshore Master, LP and Obrem Capital (QP), LP, or the Obrem entities, to purchase 3,091,000 shares of the Company’s common stock owned by the Obrem entities in a privately negotiated transaction. The Company purchased 3,075,000 shares at a price per share of approximately $6.50 for an aggregate price of $20 million. The purchase was made as part of the Company’s share repurchase program previously announced on December 30, 2008. The Company borrowed $15 million under a term loan facility and used a portion of its cash on hand to purchase the shares it purchased in the transaction. The shares purchased by the Company will return to the status of authorized but unissued shares of common stock of the Company.

Additionally, the directors and the executive officer of the Company who are parties to the Agreement purchased 16,000 shares of the Company’s common stock owned by the Obrem entities at the same discounted price as the Company. The shares were purchased for an aggregate price of $104,065.06. Frank Schneider, a member of the Board of Directors, Neil Miotto, a member of the Board of Directors, and Jung-Chen Lin, the Company’s Vice President of Ethernet Products, each purchased shares under the Agreement.

The purchases represent 4.7% of the Company’s common stock. The Company will have 62,305,090 shares of common stock outstanding after the purchases.

Synopsys Acquires Analog Business Group of MIPS Technologies

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Synopsys, Inc. , a world leader in software and IP for semiconductor design and manufacturing, today announced it has acquired the Analog Business Group of MIPS Technologies, Inc. for $22 million in cash. The acquisition expands Synopsys' DesignWare® intellectual property (IP) portfolio with a new family of analog IP such as Analog-to-Digital Converters, Digital-to-Analog Converters, Audio Codecs and Power Management. It will also add HDMI TX and RX protocols to Synopsys' existing interface IP solution.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pixelplus delisting

The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (the Exchange) has determined to remove from listing the common stock of Pixelplus Co. Ltd. (the Company), effective at the opening of the trading session on May 18, 2009. Based on a review of the information provided by the Company, Nasdaq Staff determined that the Company no longer qualified for listing on the Exchange pursuant to Marketplace Rule 5550(b)(1).

Mentor Graphics and LogicVision Sign Definitive Merger Agreement

WILSONVILLE, Ore. & SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ:MENT) and LogicVision, Inc. (NASDAQ:LGVN) today announced the two companies have signed a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Mentor Graphics will acquire LogicVision. Under the terms of the agreement, which was approved by the boards of directors of both companies, LogicVision stockholders will receive 0.2006 of a share of Mentor Graphics
common stock for each share of LogicVision, for aggregate consideration of approximately $13 million dollars (as of May 7, 2009).

Under the terms of the merger agreement, the transaction is expected to be tax-free to the stockholders of LogicVision for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The transaction has been structured as a stock-for-stock reverse triangular merger whereby a wholly owned subsidiary of Mentor Graphics will merge with and into LogicVision, with LogicVision surviving the merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of Mentor Graphics. The transaction is subject to the approval of LogicVision stockholders as well as customary closing conditions (but is not subject to regulatory approvals). The transaction is expected to close during the third calendar quarter of 2009.

Chartered 6K - Revenue, ASPs and revenue by process

Total wafer shipments decreased by 45.6% from 424,848 wafers (eight-inch equivalent) in the first quarter of 2008 to 231,198 wafers (eight-inch equivalent) in the first quarter of 2009. Average selling price (“ASP”) increased by 4.0% from $892 per wafer (eight-inch equivalent) to $928 per wafer (eight-inch equivalent) over the same period, due primarily to a more favorable product mix arising from higher shipments of 65nm products, partially offset by lower selling prices.

Revenue from our 0.13um and below technologies represented 55% of our net revenue in the first quarter of 2008 as compared to 65% of our net revenue in the first quarter of 2009. In terms of absolute dollars, such revenue decreased by 26% between the first quarters of 2008 and 2009, due primarily to lower shipments of 90nm to 0.13um products. Revenue from our 65nm and below technologies increased from 11% of our net revenue in the first quarter of 2008 to 25% of our net revenue in the first quarter of 2009. Revenue from our technologies above 0.13um up to 0.18um increased from 10% of our net revenue in first quarter of 2008 to 18% of our net revenue in the first quarter of 2009, due primarily to the contribution from Fab 3E.

ARM 6K - Q1 license update

Processor Division (PD):
  • Base of licenses increased to more than 600 with 17 additional processor licenses signed in Q1.....Includes 5 licenses for Mali graphics processor and 4 Cortex-M licenses for microcontrollers
  • Mix of higher value chipARM11-based chip shipments increase 50% year on year; now more than 5% of total shipments
Physical IP Division (PIPD):
  • 12 licenses for physical IP in Q1, 6 at advanced nodes, including 32nm
  • First delivery of an ARM processor manufactured on ARM’s 32nm physical IP

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

MIPS 10Q - Analog unit for sale

In the third quarter of fiscal 2009 we made a determination with regard to the ABG (Analog Business Unit) to either improve the financial performance or investigate the potential divestiture of the unit, and progress has been made on both of those strategic alternatives. The Company replaced the Vice President of the ABG in January 2009 and subsequently the underlying financial performance, specifically bookings, has improved. In addition the Company has had discussions with third parties about the possible sale of the business unit. While no definitive sale agreement has been reached, the possibility of a divesture remains. Total third quarter revenue........from the ABG was $5.0 million.

History: On August 27, 2007, we completed the acquisition of Chipidea, a privately held supplier of analog and mixed signal IP based in Lisbon, Portugal. We acquired all of the outstanding stock of Chipidea for $147 million in cash, of which $14.7 million is held in escrow to satisfy indemnification claims that may arise.

Spansion 8K - Delisting

On May 5, 2009, the NASDAQ Hearings Panel denied the Company’s request for continued listing on NASDAQ and informed the Company that it will suspend trading of shares of the Company’s common stock effective at the open of business on Thursday, May 7, 2009. The Company does not intend to request a review of this decision, and expects NASDAQ to file an application on Form 25-NSE with the Securities and Exchange Commission to effect the Delisting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Wafer sales (Q1 2009) by technology:
  • 45/40nm = 1%
  • 65nm = 23%
  • 90nm = 25%
  • 0.11/0.13um = 16%
  • 0.15/0.18um = 21%
  • 0.25/0.35um = 11%
  • 0.50um+ = 3%

Monday, May 4, 2009

Separation of news from observation & opinion

I have chosen to fire-wall my two blogs posting news to Filing Watch™ and my infrequent observations & opinion to A Nice Round Number. Please see my latest post on "Let the consolodation begin".

Emulex Board Unanimously Rejects Unsolicited Proposal From Broadcom

COSTA MESA, Calif., May 4, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Emulex Corporation (NYSE:ELX) today announced that its Board of Directors, with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors, has completed its evaluation of the unsolicited, non-binding proposal received on April 21, 2009 from Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq:BRCM) to acquire Emulex for $9.25 per share in cash and has unanimously determined that the Broadcom proposal significantly undervalues Emulex and is not in the best interest of Emulex stockholders.

In a letter to Broadcom, the Emulex Board of Directors stated that Broadcom's unsolicited proposal is not in the best interests of Emulex stockholders because it:
  • Significantly undervalues Emulex's long-term prospects,particularly with respect to our opportunities in network convergence, which are more than doubling Emulex's addressable market;
  • Is opportunistic given Broadcom is aware of significant new unannounced design wins that Emulex has secured with tier-one OEMs, at the expense of Broadcom and other competitors, and their potential long-term value creation for Emulex and its stockholders;
  • Is clearly timed to take advantage of Emulex's depressed stock price during the current unprecedented macroeconomic conditions. Emulex's stock price has traded well above the proposal price within the last twelve months.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

QLogic 8K - Acquires 10G Ethernet company NetXen

QLogic Corp. (NASDAQ:QLGC), a leading supplier of high performance network infrastructure solutions, today announced that it has acquired NetXen, Inc. QLogic will pay approximately $21 million in cash for NetXen (subject to certain closing adjustments). Both companies serve the same customers and address similar markets. This acquisition provides QLogic with complementary networking products and intellectual property. The acquisition further expands QLogic’s expertise in strategic areas of technology and enables the company to better address a wider range of emerging customer requirements for converged networks.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Atmel 8K - Reduction in force

On April 28, 2009, the Company began implementing a workforce reduction of approximately 300 employees, or 5% of the Company’s workforce, which the Company expects to complete by the end of the Company’s 2009 second fiscal quarter. The Company estimates that it will incur restructuring charges of approximately $3 million related to cash severance payments.