U.S. International Trade Commission Investigates Chinese Company

China’s gallium nitride (GaN) Innoscience is under investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) for an I.P. patent dispute with U.S. competitor Efficient Power Conversion (EPC). Innoscience was accused of infringing on four EPC patents relating to GaN transistor design and manufacturing. EPC filed its complaint in May to USITC and a U.S. District Court in California.

China-based Innoscience is taking legal measures to defend itself.

Innoscience was founded in 2015 by Luo Weiwei, previously a scientist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The company produces transistors and wafers for making transistors and integrated circuits. Innoscience claims it has the largest dedicated 8-inch GaN-on-Si wafer manufacturing capacity globally, producing 10,000 wafers a month.

EPC is seeking damages, a cease-and-desist order, and a ban on Innoscience’s sale of GaN products that are alleged to be in contravention of patent rules in the U.S. With Lidow’s help, EPC became the first company to make transistors based on GaN technology commercially available in 2009, the filings state. EPC alleges Innoscience illegally obtained company secrets by recruiting one of its engineers to serve as the company’s chief technology officer and hiring a China-based EPC employee as its head of sales and marketing. Innoscience denies the allegations.

China’s commerce ministry and customs administration announced that China will impose an export control system for GaN technology, including GaN chips, from August 1 as Beijing moves to greater control of the strategic material.

GaN technology will likely be dragged into more cross-border commercial disputes and geopolitical tensions between China and the U.S. with more steps by Washington to curtail China’s chip development.

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