Melexis confident about outcome patent lawsuit
March 16, 2009 - Ieper, Belgium
Since Melexis received questions relating to the patent claim which were not covered in the Thursday press release, we decided to give further information.
The Hall sensor is a magnetic sensor based on the Hall effect which was discovered by Edwin Hall in 1879. Melexis is a major player in the field of Hall sensors. Melexis introduced for example the first programmable Hall sensor on the market used for position and angle sensing.
Melexis has been approached about 9 months ago by AMS. Until recently, AMS was not very active in Hall sensors and apparently eager to enter this market. AMS told us they were seeking compensation for IP related to a patent on magnetic angle sensing they acquired. As there is prior art on the domain, the Melexis technology was developed in house, the Melexis sensor is different in its functioning and protected by our own patents, Melexis saw no reason to entertain discussions on licensing with AMS. Melexis stayed firm on its position and stated to be prepared to defend it in court if needed. As such the court filing did not come as a surprise. That AMS felt there was a need to do a press release about this, is interesting however.
Melexis takes IP very seriously, but at the same time takes a pragmatic approach. Each day almost 1000 patents are filed in the US alone. There are several thousands of patents on angle sensors. There is no economic sense in pro-actively screening all patent filings. There is no need to take steps against patents that lack novelty, re-use known principles or claim too wide a field of application. Melexis takes the approach to defend when needed.
As now first steps were set by AMS, Melexis will prepare the documentation to inform the appropriate instances about the detailed functioning of our products and explain about the prior art to the AMS patent.
In the meantime, this will have no effect whatsoever on Melexis’ business.
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