The law suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Arizona, alleges that Zilog’s 8-pin Z8 Encore! XP 4K series of microcontrollers infringes three Microchip US patents covering 8-pin microcontrollers and seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and damages.
The patents themselves – 5,847,450; 6,483,183 and 6,696,316 – describe how the company developed a means to produce an 8-bit microprocessor using a limited number of pins on the chip. It did this by allowing each pin to perform multiple functions.
“Microchip introduced the first of its now industry-leading 8-pin PIC microcontroller products in 1996,” said Steve Sanghi, Microchip’s President and CEO.
“The technology breakthroughs that have enabled Microchip to achieve its position of leadership in 8-pin microcontroller products are protected by a strong patent portfolio. We are resolved to enforce those patents against infringers, to protect our investments in research and development and the interests of our employees and shareholders,” he added.