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US Patent Office Rejects Monolithic Power Systems’ Challenges to Volterra Coupled Inductor Patents

Volterra Semiconductor LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rejected five petitions by Monolithic Power Systems, Inc. (MPS) seeking Inter Partes Review on three Volterra patents relating to the use of coupled inductors in voltage converters.

The March 4 rulings were the latest development related to the 2019 lawsuit filed by Volterra in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware seeking damages from MPS and an order prohibiting the company from selling products that infringe on Volterra patents. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the USPTO denied the petitions in response to an MPS’ request to find Volterra’s claims as “unpatentable.”

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“The Patent Office’s decision to reject five separate challenges to the patentability of three Volterra patents confirms the importance of these inventions,” said Bruno Kranzen, vice president of Maxim’s Cloud and Data Center Business Unit. “These rulings also re-affirm the strength of Volterra’s intellectual property portfolio and it underscores the efforts the company will take to defend these patents vigorously.”

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In four of the five rulings on March 4, the USPTO wrote that each of the MPS petitions did “not establish a reasonable likelihood that [it] would prevail in showing that any of the challenged claims of each patent are unpatentable.” In the fifth ruling, the USPTO denied MPS’ petition after concluding that “the same or substantially the same prior art or arguments” were previously presented to the Patent Office during the original examination of Volterra’s patent.

The specific Volterra patents asserted in the lawsuit are USP 6,362,986, titled “Voltage Converter With Coupled Inductive Windings, and Associated Methods,” USP 7,772,955, titled “Method for Making Magnetic Components with N-Phase Coupling, and Related Inductor Structures,” and USP 7,525,408, titled “Method for Making Magnetic Components with N-Phase Coupling, and Related Inductor Structures.”

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