Cardiff-based IQE has brought litigation against Tower Semiconductor concerning trade secrets about its porous silicon technology.
IQE, a supplier of compound semiconductor wafer products and material solutions, reckons there is “significant evidence” that Tower Semiconductor misappropriated IQE’s trade secrets to unlawfully obtain patents on IQE’s technology.
These claims relate to IQE’s proprietary porous silicon technology, which it says would underpin devices used in 5G and sensing applications.
Tom Dale, General Counsel & Company Secretary at IQE, states: “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.”
The legal battle won’t take place in the UK or Israel, but rather in the US Federal Court in California.
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There’s no official response on Tower’s website at the time of writing. As announced in February 2022, Intel plans to buy Israel-based Tower for $5.4 billion (£4.5 billion), so what Intel makes of this remains to be seen.
Away from lawsuits about its proprietary porous silicon technology, IQE uses crystal growth technology (epitaxy) to manufacture and supply bespoke semiconductor wafers (‘epi-wafers’) to chip manufacturing companies. The tech firm says it has a manufacturing footprint across Europe, US and Asia.
Its products are found in consumer, communication, computing and industrial applications, including a range of wafer products for the wireless industry, such as mobile handsets and wireless infrastructure, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, base stations, GPS, satellite communications, et al.
IQE operates facilities in Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Bethlehem (US), Greensboro (US), Taunton (US), Singapore and Taiwan.