August 26, 2008

SiRF Says - Hey Don't Leave Us!

SiRF, the makers of the revolutionary SiRFstar III chipset, recently lost a ruling in a patent infringement against its rival Global Locate (a subsidiary of Broadcom). It could spell bad news for the GPS chip giant, because the case isn't over, and it appears that customers have concerns over the strategic choice of sticking with SiRF through this crisis.

SiRF just issued a press release saying, "There is no ban on shipment of SiRF's or our customers' products. In fact, the ITC will not even make any final determination until December after they have finished their investigation including reviewing the ITC Staff's appeal and our appeal."

My thoughts are if SiRF is issuing a press release on this, then they seem to need to convince someone that their future shipments aren't in jeopardy; like the engineers who will design the chips out of new units, or business unit owners who might get pinched if a ruling does in fact come down with some kind of punitive move to limit importation of chips that infringe.

In the end, these things often come right up to the last minute and then get settled for an undisclosed amount and a bunch of patent licensing agreements. Business continues and life goes on. We'll see.

Press Release follows......

SiRF Technology Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRF), a leading provider of GPS-powered location platforms, today announced that SiRF and the ITC staff have independently filed appeals with the International Trade Commission (ITC) for review of the ITC Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) initial ruling that certain SiRF products infringed upon patents held by Global Locate, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Broadcom. In addition, SiRF has taken measures to reassure its customers of multiple alternatives to address this initial ruling to enable SiRF customers to continue shipping their innovative products into the US market.

"There is no ban on shipment of SiRF's or our customers' products. In fact, the ITC will not even make any final determination until December after they have finished their investigation including reviewing the ITC Staff's appeal and our appeal," said Kanwar Chadha, founder of SiRF Technology. "Meanwhile we continue to provide our customers with products and services to address their needs and ensure that consumers get the full benefits of SiRF's innovations."


The initial ruling is subject to review by the ITC. SiRF believes that the ALJ's initial decision is incorrect, and the evidence presented during the trial gives SiRF a strong basis for its appeal to the ITC for its final ruling, due to issue in December 2008. The ITC Staff has also independently filed an appeal of the initial ruling.


In addition, there will be a remedies briefing process to the ITC that determines the impact, if any, of a ruling on SiRF and SiRF customers' products, which will occur in due course. The final ITC ruling is further subject to a sixty-day Presidential review period and can then be appealed to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.


During the last 13 years, SiRF has built a patent portfolio in the location technology field that includes more than 250 patents awarded worldwide and more than 370 additional patent applications pending. SiRF's patent portfolio also includes some of the early GPS patents that SiRF acquired through its acquisition of Conexant's GPS business in 2003, and Motorola's GPS assets in 2005.

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Posted by Scott Martin at August 26, 2008 11:12 PM

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