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Stanford sues Harris Corp., claims patent infringement

STANFORD -- Alleging patent infringement, Stanford University filed a suit Monday, March 7, against Harris Corp., the former RCA Corp.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, concerns U.S. Letters Patent Reissue Number 33,209, issued to James D. Plummer, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, and assigned to the university.

Stanford states that the original patent, issued in September 1978, covers devices commonly known as insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) or COMFETs, which have applications in products ranging from washing machines and motor controls to switching large currents at power plants. Stanford estimates that the market for devices based on the technology will reach $350 million by 1997, the year Stanford's patent expires.

Harris, one of the nation's largest manufacturers of IGBTs, asserts that Stanford's patent does not cover IGBTs but is limited to other devices.

Kathy Ku, Stanford's director of technology licensing, said that Stanford had tried to resolve the matter without litigation but had not been successful.



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