News & Analysis

US ITC confirms EPC Patents and infringement by Innoscience

9th July 2024
Sheryl Miles

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC), a rapidly growing and innovative company, announces that it has moved one step closer to achieving preeminence in the gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductor industry, as its intellectual property rights to this revolutionary technology were upheld for the third time in three months.

The next-generation wide bandgap semiconductors developed by EPC are essential to artificial intelligence (AI), satellites, fast chargers, LiDAR, humanoid robots, and many other transformational technologies.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) found two of EPC’s key patents valid and one, the Company’s foundational patent, infringed by Innoscience (Zhuhai) Technology and its affiliate, Innoscience America. The ITC’s recommendation comes on the heels of two recent decisions from the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), which similarly validated EPC’s counterpart patents in China. The ITC initial determination is a significant milestone in solidifying EPC’s leadership in wide bandgap semiconductors and could lead to a ban later this year on importation of Innoscience’s infringing products into the US.

“The ITC’s finding that Innoscience uses our patented technology without authorisation puts EPC in an enviable position, as US and Chinese regulatory bodies have upheld the validity of our patents,” said Alex Lidow, CEO and Co-Founder of EPC.

“The Commission’s recommendations validate nearly two decades of hard work, resources, and R&D that went into developing EPC’s uniquely valuable intellectual property portfolio,” Dr. Lidow added.

Over the last 15 years, EPC has capitalised on its first-mover advantage to develop a broad portfolio of over 200 GaN-related patents and over 150 products, which include its rapidly growing family of integrated circuits, automotive qualified and radiation hardened devices. Compared with traditional silicon-based power devices, GaN represents a significant leap, with higher efficiency, faster switching speeds, smaller size, and lower cost. GaN power devices are integral to self-driving vehicles, medical, and communications devices, next-generation rapid chargers, drones, satellites, data centres, e-bikes, solar power systems, and humanoid robots, among many other applications. Most notably, EPC’s cutting-edge semiconductors are central to powering the AI revolution by significantly freeing up space for extra computing power while simultaneously reducing energy consumption.

The ITC’s preliminary ruling found both US patents that EPC asserted against Innoscience valid. It also found “infringement [by Innoscience] of US Patent No. 8,350,294,” EPC’s foundational patent used broadly across multiple industries. The second EPC patent, US Patent No. 8,404,508, was found valid, but not infringed by Innoscience. The Commission’s final determination is expected to be issued on the 5th November 2024.

Background on power management semiconductors

Experts generally recognise four types of semiconductors: logic chips, memory chips, analog chips, and optoelectronics/sensors/discrete. Within the analog category reside power management semiconductors, which convert, control, and distribute electrical power. The largest market for general-purpose analog semiconductors was power management, according to the Congressional Research Service. Next-generation power semiconductors, such as EPC’s products, are fabricated on wide band-gap semiconductors, such as silicon carbide and GaN, which enable them to operate at higher temperatures and voltages with increased efficiency and reliability as compared to traditional silicon-based devices.

GaN power semiconductors are used in fast-charging applications for consumer electronics, aerospace and defence applications, satellites, high density AI servers, drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and medical electronics, among other innovative technologies.

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