Back to News list

Keker & Van Nest Wins Summary Judgment for TSMC in Patent Dispute with Ziptronix

Press Release

U.S. District Judge Saundra B. Armstrong released her order granting summary judgment in favor of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd. and its subsidiary TSMC, North America in a long-running patent lawsuit brought by North Carolina semiconductor company, Ziptronix, Inc. Ziptronix had asserted nine patents and more than 500 patent claims directed to TSMC’s manufacturing of semiconductors for use in backside-illumination image sensors used predominantly in smartphone cameras.

On behalf of TSMC, Keker & Van Nest asked the court to dismiss Ziptronix’s claims on grounds that the U.S. patent law does not reach manufacturing operations and sales that occur abroad. Judge Armstrong granted TSMC’s motion for summary judgment on September 30, but the publicly available opinion was just released today. This brings an end to Ziptronix’s four-year-old patent infringement suit against TSMC.

TSMC, Ltd. is a Taiwanese corporation headquartered in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and manufactures semiconductor wafers, a component of the image sensors that Ziptronix accused of infringement. TSMC North America is a subsidiary of TSMC, Ltd., headquartered in San Jose California.

In it motion for summary judgment, TSMC established that all the accused manufacturing occurred in Taiwan, and the sales were consummated in Taiwan where the product was delivered. Judge Armstrong noted that even accepting Ziptronix’s argument that contracts were negotiated or executed in the United States, those “contracts contemplated delivery and performance abroad” and thus “the accused wafers are not ‘sold within the United States.’”

The case is Ziptronix, Inc. v. Omnivision Technologies, Inc., et al. Case No. 4:10-cv-05525-SBA TSMC was represented on the motion by Keker & Van Nest partners Brian Ferrall, Leo Lam, Ben Berkowitz and Steve Hirsch, and associates Tom Gorman and Phillip Tassin.