Case Spotlights Next-Gen Tech Replacing Silicon
(El Segundo, California)—Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC), the global leader in gallium nitride (GaN) technology, today filed complaints in federal court and in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) asserting four patents of its foundational patent portfolio against Innoscience (Zhuhai) Technology Company, Ltd. and its affiliates (collectively, Innoscience). These patents cover core aspects of the design and manufacturing process of EPC’s proprietary enhancement-mode gallium nitride power semiconductor devices. These patents encompass innovations that enabled GaN-based power devices to mature from a research project to a mass-producible high-volume alternative to silicon-based transistors and integrated circuits with GaN devices having higher efficiency, smaller size, and lower cost.
EPC, based in El Segundo, California, transformed GaN from a scientific curiosity to a widely accepted technology with improved energy efficiency. In 2010, EPC began making the first mass -produced commercial GaN transistors and integrated circuits. Since then, the company has grown into the recognized leader in GaN products and services.
The complaint recounts how Innoscience, headquartered in Guangdong China, recruited two EPC employees to serve as its Chief Technology Officer and Head of Sales and Marketing. Shortly thereafter, Innoscience introduced a suite of products visibly identical to EPC’s, boasting virtually equal performance across key performance metrics. More recently, Innoscience has claimed that many of its products have “pin-to-pin compatibility with existing products,” including EPC’s products, in a bold and aggressive campaign to market its suite of products to EPC’s customers.
“I have always been a believer in fair cooperation as the foundation of global technology markets,” said Alex Lidow, PhD, EPC’s co-founder and CEO. “Only through cooperation can we unlock the potential of GaN technology and meet the world’s energy security and sustainability goals. Strong protections and respect for intellectual property are essential to that trust and cooperation.”
“I am confident that, through these decisive actions, we will reach a fair and reasonable resolution that levels the playing field and ensures a GaN ecosystem that works for all participants in this critical emerging technology,” Dr. Lidow added.
EPC has sued Innoscience in federal court and the ITC for patent infringement, seeking damages and barring Innoscience from importing its infringing suite of GaN products into the United States.
Replacing Silicon: GaN and the Future of Power Conversion
Gallium nitride (GaN) is a next-generation power conversion technology that is poised to replace silicon power semiconductors over the next decade. Smaller, more efficient, and more reliable technology than silicon-based semiconductors, GaN enables higher performance at a lower cost. Applications range from computing, automotive, solar, robotics, drones, medical electronics, and LIDAR to everyday products like cellphones, audio equipment, smart appliances, power tools, fast chargers, and e-bikes.
GaN technologies show the promise to unlock 15-20% increases in global energy efficiency, which will reduce both the cost of energy and reduce harmful emissions, supporting US energy security and sustainability goals. Experts predict a multibillion-dollar GaN market over the next two-to-three years, growing to a ceiling in the several tens of billions of dollars over the next decade.
Efficient Power Conversion Corporation
Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC) is the worldwide leader in GaN technology and products. The basis of that leadership is superior technology: EPC put the first GaN product into production in 2010, and now holds 57 U.S. patents and 172 patents worldwide. EPC has over 100 Integrated Circuits (ICs) and discrete transistors available for off-the-shelf delivery, and its products consistently outperform competitors’.
EPC co-founder and CEO Alex Lidow, PhD, is recognized as one of the founders of the modern power conversion industry. With 21 patents in semiconductor technology to his name, Dr. Lidow began his career at International Rectifier Corporation (IR), where he served as Vice President for Research and Development and later as CEO from 1995-2007. He represented the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) for the trade negotiations that resulted in the U.S.-Japan Trade Accord of 1986 and has testified to Congress on multiple occasions on behalf of the semiconductor industry. In 2015 he received the SEMI Award for North America for the commercialization of more efficient power devices and in 2019 was inducted into the IEEE Hall of Fame. Dr. Lidow is best known as a co-inventor of the HEXFET power MOSFET, which unlocked a 30% gain in global energy efficiency and created a $40 billion global market. Now, through GaN technology, Dr. Lidow and EPC are poised to replace the technology Dr. Lidow helped to create more than four decades ago.
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Aidan Ryan | [email protected]