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Microchip looses the plot ?

Started by Jim Granville August 12, 2005
   This in the news:

"Microchip sues Zilog over 8-pin microcontrollers"

and it's not April 1st ?

  Microchip used to be an engineering focused company, who took
a small Micrcontroller core, and used it very well.

  Now, it seems Zilog must be taking a chunk of their pie, and
they cannot compete on technical merit alone ?

  So, let's glance at what innovation they claim to have ?

6,696,316  Filed:  November 18, 2002
  Integrated circuit (IC) package with a microcontroller having an n-bit 
bus and up to n-pins coupled to the microcontroller
"By using pins with multiple functions, the instant invention permits an 
n-bit architecture microcontroller to use less than or equal to n pins."

  6,483,183 Granted November 19, 2002
  Integrated circuit (IC) package with a microcontroller having an n-bit 
bus and up to n-pins coupled to the microcontroller
"By using pins with multiple functions, the instant invention permits an 
n-bit architecture microcontroller to use less than or equal to n pins."

5,847,450  Granted December 8, 1998
  Microcontroller having an n-bit data bus width with less than n I/O pins
"2. Description of the Related Art

"Microcontrollers are widely known and used in many different 
applications. A typical architecture used in microcontrollers today is 
the 8-bit architecture (i.e. the data bus width of the microcontroller 
is 8 bits wide)."

" One problem with this and other sizes of microcontrollers is that to 
support an n-bit architecture, greater than n pins are required to be 
connected to the microcontroller."

  ROTFL, What nonsense!. Microcontrollers are typified by having ON CHIP 
  memory, and have _never_ had any bus-related pin-connection limit!

  Why should the BUS width have ANY relation to the pin count in a
Microcontroller ? - that's as sensible as claiming invention for a car 
that has fewer (or more?) wheels than cylinders ?!

  Even the Intel 4004 used multi function pins, so prior art there goes 
back a very long way indeed.

  Large volumes of ROM based microcontrollers will have been shipped 
over the years, quite happily operating with less connected pins than 
the bus width.

  The ancient 8-bit 8048 used 4 pins with the 8243 IO expander...

  Prediction:  This silliness will make Microhip a laughing stock in the 
engineering area, and probably not make their stock holders too happy 
either.

  They are going to have to sue Atmel, Fairchild, Philips ( and others ) 
as well..... this will be amusing to follow. [What _was_ Steve thinking?]

-jg




Jim Granville <no.spam@designtools.co.nz> writes:

> This in the news: > > "Microchip sues Zilog over 8-pin microcontrollers"
Jim: You've referred to and quoted the patents Microchip are suing over. You've been in this business long enough to know that the Abstract and the Body of the Patent are *not* the Claims of the patent. Yet you're pulling sentences from the Abstract and Body to make your argument. I don't know the validity of the suit. I *do* know that it will be fought on the *CLAIMS* of the patent. If you want us to take the argument you're proposing seriously, how about you repost it with Claim 1 substituted for your current quote from the patent? At least then you would have given us *enough* *information* to consider the story... cheers, Rich. [Yes, I use PICs. Hell, I use Cypress stuff, VIA stuff, ...] -- rich walker | Shadow Robot Company | rw@shadow.org.uk technical director 251 Liverpool Road | need a Hand? London N1 1LX | +UK 20 7700 2487 www.shadow.org.uk/products/newhand.shtml
Rich Walker wrote:

> Jim Granville <no.spam@designtools.co.nz> writes: > >> This in the news: >> >>"Microchip sues Zilog over 8-pin microcontrollers" > > > Jim: > > You've referred to and quoted the patents Microchip are suing over. > > You've been in this business long enough to know that the Abstract and > the Body of the Patent are *not* the Claims of the patent. > > Yet you're pulling sentences from the Abstract and Body to make your > argument. > > I don't know the validity of the suit. > > I *do* know that it will be fought on the *CLAIMS* of the patent. > > If you want us to take the argument you're proposing seriously, how > about you repost it with Claim 1 substituted for your current quote from > the patent? > > At least then you would have given us *enough* *information* to consider > the story...
This stuff is public domain, and I gave the Patent numbers, so it is real easy to look this up, at uspto..... but under claims, 1, we have "What is claimed is: 1. An Integrated Circuit (IC) package comprising, in combination: an IC chip with a microcontroller having a data bus; a first pin electrically coupled to said microcontroller wherein said first pin functions as a power supply pin; a second pin electrically coupled to said microcontroller wherein said second pin functions as a grounding pin; and a plurality of third pins electrically coupled to said microcontroller wherein said plurality of third pins are function pins, at least one of said plurality of third pins being a multiple function pin, a total number of said first pin, said second pin, and said plurality of third pins is at least three and one of less than or equal to a bus width of said data bus. " Read the whole patent(s), and ponder just how much prior art there is, and how "those skilled in the art" would consider this a complete no-brainer. The legal teams will do well, and Zilog will get a lot of free publicity, but this so clearly lacks merit that it can only make Microchip's senior management look plain silly/stupid. I will follow this with keen interest. -jg
"Jim Granville" <no.spam@designtools.co.nz> wrote in message
news:42fdbbb0$1@clear.net.nz...
> Rich Walker wrote: > > > Jim Granville <no.spam@designtools.co.nz> writes: > > > >> This in the news:
> > Read the whole patent(s), and ponder just how much prior art there > is, and how "those skilled in the art" would consider this > a complete no-brainer. > > The legal teams will do well, and Zilog will get a lot of free > publicity, but this so clearly lacks merit that it can only make > Microchip's senior management look plain silly/stupid. >
Don't you think it makes the Patent Office look like clueless muppets? Shouldn't there be some system in place, such as "3-strikes and you're out" - where any patent clerk that achieves 3 successfully-challenged patents should be removed from their position? Is it possible to sue the Patent Office for damages due to the issuing of dumb patents and the negative publicity a 'stupid' patent claim can have? If not, it should be.
Joe Butler wrote:

>> > > > Don't you think it makes the Patent Office look like clueless muppets? > > Shouldn't there be some system in place, such as "3-strikes and you're > out" - where any patent clerk that achieves 3 successfully-challenged > patents should be removed from their position? > > Is it possible to sue the Patent Office for damages due to the issuing of > dumb patents and the negative publicity a 'stupid' patent claim can have? > If not, it should be.
It does not make Zilog et al look to bright. Any semi manufacturer worth his salt will have a watch on patent applications by their competitors. Before the patent is granted there is an opportunity for them to object to the patent - in this case on the grounds of prior art. I wonder why they didn't because it is hard to see how it would have been granted if they had objected. Ian
Joe Butler wrote:
[...]
> > > Don't you think it makes the Patent Office look like clueless muppets? > > Shouldn't there be some system in place, such as "3-strikes and you're > out" - where any patent clerk that achieves 3 successfully-challenged > patents should be removed from their position? >
You would be doing him a favor. What would be the upside? The patent office is already a sucky place to work, probably the engineering employer of last resort.
> Is it possible to sue the Patent Office for damages due to the issuing of > dumb patents and the negative publicity a 'stupid' patent claim can have? > If not, it should be. > >
Sigh.
Now, if only obvious BS patents could be revoked... Unfortunately such
stupidity seem be held high and proud instead. The patent system (and the
driving lawyer culture) is on a sure path to the ridiculous.

DJ
--


I thought that the patent clerk was supposed to do a search for prior art.
If they don't carry out a good search, they are doing a disservice to all
granted patentee's that have already paid out money to the Patent Office.


"Ian Bell" <ruffrecords@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:ddkt02$pnu$1@slavica.ukpost.com...
> Joe Butler wrote: > > >> > > > > > > Don't you think it makes the Patent Office look like clueless muppets? > > > > Shouldn't there be some system in place, such as "3-strikes and you're > > out" - where any patent clerk that achieves 3 successfully-challenged > > patents should be removed from their position? > > > > Is it possible to sue the Patent Office for damages due to the issuing
of
> > dumb patents and the negative publicity a 'stupid' patent claim can
have?
> > If not, it should be. > > It does not make Zilog et al look to bright. Any semi manufacturer worth
his
> salt will have a watch on patent applications by their competitors. Before > the patent is granted there is an opportunity for them to object to the > patent - in this case on the grounds of prior art. I wonder why they
didn't
> because it is hard to see how it would have been granted if they had > objected. > > Ian
Joe Butler wrote:

> I thought that the patent clerk was supposed to do a search for prior art. > If they don't carry out a good search, they are doing a disservice to all > granted patentee's that have already paid out money to the Patent Office. >
They are supposed to. Several of my patents were challenged by the patent office on the grounds of prior art, which they cite. You have to demonstrate either a material difference in your invention or say why the prior art does not apply. I get the impression that applications for US patents are handled differently depending on who the applicant is. Ian
On Sat, 13 Aug 2005 19:57:27 +0000, Ian Bell <ruffrecords@yahoo.com>
wrote:

>Joe Butler wrote: > >> I thought that the patent clerk was supposed to do a search for prior art. >> If they don't carry out a good search, they are doing a disservice to all >> granted patentee's that have already paid out money to the Patent Office. >> > >They are supposed to. Several of my patents were challenged by the patent >office on the grounds of prior art, which they cite. You have to >demonstrate either a material difference in your invention or say why the >prior art does not apply. > >I get the impression that applications for US patents are handled >differently depending on who the applicant is.
...Or perhaps how the applicant _treats_ them. I've been a passive observer of the _handling_ of patent clerks... where a lot was done to _help_ them decide in favor. (I suppose it could be called, "perks for clerks.") When you are paying your patent attorneys 50k/month and more, there's a lot of cash-flow available. May have been an unusual circumstance I saw, though. Can't say. Jon