IQE files IP lawsuit against Tower Semiconductor

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IQE, a supplier of compound semiconductor wafer products, has filed a lawsuit against Tower Semiconductor.

IQE says it has significant evidence to suggest misappropriation of IQE’s trade secrets relating to its 'porous silicon' technology.

In the photonics market, IQE develops epitaxial wafers and delivers high-volume 940nm VCSEL manufacturing to the 3D sensing and illumination space, for applications in lidar, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and autonomous vehicles. In May, it released the first commercially available 200mm (8inch) VCSEL epiwafer.

The company has significant evidence that Tower misappropriated IQE’s trade secrets to unlawfully obtain patents on IQE’s technology. These claims relate to IQE’s proprietary porous silicon technology which would underpin devices used in 5G and advanced sensing applications.

IQE filed its complaint in the US Federal Court in California (case number 8:22-cv-00867) under Federal and California state law in relation to the misappropriation of trade secrets, correction of inventorship, breach of contract, unfair competition, and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.

Tom Dale, general counsel and company secretary at IQE, commented: 'We brought about these claims as we have significant reason to believe that Tower has misappropriated IQE’s proprietary trade secrets for its own benefit. Our technology, processes and intellectual property are vital in underpinning IQE’s products and solutions and in maintaining our market-leading position in advanced semiconductor materials. We will vigorously protect them and will provide further updates as material developments occur.'

Tower is in the process of being bought by Intel for $5.4 billion. The deal is set to expand Intel's semiconductor manufacturing capacity, accelerating its aim of becoming a major provider of foundry services and capacity globally.

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