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14 May 2014

Transphorm obtains exclusive licensing rights to Furukawa's GaN patent portfolio

Transphorm Inc of Goleta, near Santa Barbara, CA, USA (which designs and delivers power conversion devices and modules) has obtained a sole worldwide license to Furukawa Electric Co Ltd’s extensive gallium nitride (GaN) power device portfolio, which includes about 40 US issued patents and 110 Japanese issued patents. Transphorm also has certain rights to sublicense these patents.

The licensed family of patents encompasses various aspects of GaN power device manufacturing, materials and circuits, including key patents for GaN-on-silicon epitaxial growth technology. As part of the agreement, Furukawa Electric also made an equity investment in Transphorm. The deal brings Transphorm’s total GaN IP portfolio to over 300 US patents/applications and over 650 worldwide patents/applications, including a combination of internally developed, acquired and licensed patents.

Transphorm says that, over the last several years, GaN semiconductors have emerged as a technology enabler for the next wave of compact and energy-efficient power conversion systems, ranging from ultra-small adapters, high-power-density PCs, server & telecom power supplies, to highly efficient PV inverters and motion control systems.

Transphorm has established a power conversion platform, involving introducing what was claimed to be the first 600V GaN HEMT products after successfully passing JEDEC qualification. Most recently it has demonstrated 100 million hours lifetime using high-voltage accelerated testing (again, a first for a GaN power device, the firm says). “As GaN power devices are now poised for rapid market penetration, a strong intellectual property position is essential to growing the GaN business,” notes Roger Borovoy, Transphorm’s IP counsel from Fish & Richardson. “The Furukawa license, combined with a very significant internal GaN portfolio, unquestionably makes Transphorm the key player,” he adds.

“Furukawa Electric has conducted original GaN research starting from the 1990s and amassed a strong patent portfolio in GaN power devices and materials,” says Takahide Kimura, corporate senior VP, New Business Development, at Furukawa Electric. “As we sought to unlock the value of this portfolio, as well as to secure a supply of GaN products for our own applications, Transphorm was an ideal choice. Additionally, Furukawa Electric is also willing to have further technical collaboration with Transphorm, as a strategic partner, beyond this license and investment,” he adds.

“Furukawa Electric has made a significant equity investment and obtained a minority equity stake in Transphorm,” says Transphorm’s CEO Fumihide Esaka. “We are pleased to announce this strong partnership with a global leader like Furukawa Electric.”

See related items:

Transphorm and Fujitsu to merge GaN power device businesses

Transphorm launches first JEDEC-qualified 600V GaN-on-Si power devices

Tags: Transphorm GaN-on-Si GaN HEMT

Visit: www.transphormusa.com

Visit: www.furukawa.co.jp/english

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