ENCINO, Calif. — A showdown between two competing power-solution
companies headquartered in California is set to play out before a
Monolithic Power Systems, headquartered in San Jose, has filed a
lawsuit against competitor Intersil of Milpitas, accusing the company
of stealing trade secrets.
According to a news release on its
website, MPS has asserted that Intersil unlawfully gained
confidential information that belonged to MPS and claims the company
then used it to create falsehoods about the circuit design and
operation of MPS product, according to a news release by Intersil.
MPS said the purpose of Intersil’s action was to deter customers
and potential customers from using MPS products and encouraged them
to purchase Intersil ones instead.
“Their first cause of action is for defamation, and their second
cause of action is for interference and then unfair competition and
trade secrets,” David Gurnick, an attorney at Lewitt Hackman in
Encino, told the Northern California Record.
practice focuses on trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other
"They are saying that Intersil is going to
Monolithic customers and that they got some confidential information
from a customer, and now they are using that and disclosing it to
other customers," he said.
However, Intersil said it will be
“vigorously” defending themselves against a lawsuit filed with
the U.S. District Court in Delaware by MPS. Intersil says it opposes
the company’s legal claims against it, but declined to discuss the
The litigation has been filed in Delaware,
where MPS is incorporated, Gurnick said.
“I suspect they feel
that they will have a more favorable forum in Delaware,” he said.
“Delaware is a little more generous in it’s respecting of trade
secrets or its protection of trade secrets.”
Gurnick also said
the law MPS has accused Intersil of breaking is fairly new.
are bringing their claim under the relatively brand-new, federal
misappropriation trade-secrets law. That was signed into law by the
president just a couple months ago,” he said, adding they were also
calling on parts of Delaware law.
He said it is difficult to
determine how the case will play out as there still are things that
could develop that would favor either side.
develop if there is merit to their claims,” Gurnick said, "And
it could develop that the claim lacks merit that Monolithic is
over-reacting to a developing competition situation.”
He said it
seemed similar to litigation brought by Mattel against the Bratz
"In that litigation, it was Mattel vs. Bratz, there
was one trial where Mattel won when they claimed that Bratz was using
Mattel secrets,” he said. “Then there was another trial where
Bratz won and the jury found that Mattel had violated Bratz's
"That case illustrates the fact that you have highly
competitive litigation that could play out in different ways."
is asking for unspecified damages as well as a court injunction
Intersil develops power-management and analog
solutions and creates products for mobile and other electronics that
help extend battery life.
MPS also develops products that extend
the battery life of electronics. The company's website indicates it
develops green, compact solutions for customers.