University hits TSMC, Samsung with patent writ

STC.UNM a subsidiary of the University of New Mexico, said it is charging Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited and Samsung Electronics Company Limited with patent infringement over a technology designed to improve the capability of semiconductor manufacturers to fabricate next-generation chips.

STC, a non-profit corporation owned by the University of New Mexico Regents, asked the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. to investigate the firms' importation of products that it says infringe its Patent No. 6,042,998, entitled "Method and Apparatus for Extending Spatial Frequencies in Photolithography Images." The technology, which issued in 2000.

Last year, STC filed a similar complaint against Toshiba Corporation, which STC dismissed once Toshiba became a licensee under the STC patents.

The STC patent pertains to lithographic methods that allow for the manufacture of smaller features in semiconductor devices.

According to Lisa Kuuttila, STC’s president and CEO, the outfit ontacted both firms in 2007 with regards to the patented technology: "While STC remains reluctant to use the courts and administrative agencies to enforce our patent rights, we have no other recourse given our duty to protect the intellectual property of our inventors and the University," he said in a statement.

STC is asking the Commission to issue an exclusion order which will prevent TSMC and Samsung from importing the infringing products into the United States.