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Dispute Involving Semtech Settled

Semtech Corp. has settled a lawsuit with a Texas company over allegations that it engaged in business disparagement and interference with business relations of the other company. 

Details of the agreement between the Camarillo semiconductor and Internet-of-Things products developer and manufacturer and Spark Connected LLC in Dallas, were not disclosed. 

Neither company admitted any liability in the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. 

Charles Ammann, chief legal officer for Semtech, said the company was pleased with the outcome of the settlement. 

“As it did in this lawsuit, Semtech is committed to taking steps to vigorously protect its intellectual property rights and confidential information and to enforce its confidentiality agreements and other contractual commitments,” Ammann said in a statement. 

The court case started in October 2018 when former Semtech employees Ken Moore, Emanuel Stingu and Ruwanga Dassanayake filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that they did not breach any agreements or misappropriate trade secrets from their former employer.

Semtech filed a counterclaim the next month, claiming that the three had done just that in regard to wireless charging technology. 

Moore had been an owner of Triune Systems, which was acquired by Semtech in 2015 and branded its wireless charging technology as LinkCharge in 2016. 

Six months after Spark Connected was founded in September 2017 it demonstrated a wireless charging platform at the Applied Power Electronics Conference that was like Semtech’s, the Camarillo company claimed.

Semtech would later drop most of the allegations against Spark, Moore, Stingu and Dassanayake. It would maintain that the plaintiffs misappropriated four of the 31 trade secrets originally asserted in Semtech’s counterclaims.

In November of last year, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly C. Priest Johnson ruled in Semtech’s favor in a motion to dismiss Spark’s motion of claims for business disparagement and tortious interference. The Texas company claimed that Semtech had disparaged it with a press release from December 2018 that was never retracted or corrected after the company dropped allegations against the plaintiffs that were mentioned in the release.

“Because Texas state courts, as well as district courts in the Fifth Circuit, have repeatedly protected out-of-court communications that accurately summarize pending proceedings, the Court finds Semtech’s Press Release is similarly protected,” Johnson wrote in her opinion.

Moore, the chief executive of Spark, said that after two years of litigation, he was pleased with the resolution of all disputes with Semtech.

“Spark looks forward to continuing to develop and design novel and unique wireless power solutions for its customers,” Moore said in a statement. 

The settlement was announced on Friday. In trading on Nasdaq, shares of Semtech (SMTC) closed down 61 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $85.33 on Monday, a day when that market closed up nearly 1 percent.  

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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