News | May 13, 2014

Transphorm Obtains Exclusive Licensing Rights To Furukawa Electric's Gallium Nitride (GaN) Patent Portfolio

Corporate investment and partnership solidifies Transphorm's worldwide leadership position in GaN power IP, with more than 650 patents and applications

Goleta, CA /PRNewswire/ -- Transphorm Inc. today announced that it has obtained a sole worldwide license to Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd.'s extensive Gallium Nitride (GaN) power device portfolio that includes approximately 40 U.S. 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 U.S. patents/applications and over 650 world-wide patents/applications, including a combination of internally developed, acquired and licensed patents.

Over the last several years, GaN semiconductors have emerged as a leading 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 the next power conversion platform—demonstrating breakthrough performance and introducing the world's first 600 Volt 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. "As GaN power devices are now poised for rapid market penetration, a strong intellectual property position is essential to growing the GaN business," said 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."

"Furukawa Electric has conducted original GaN research starting from the 1990s and amassed a strong patent portfolio in GaN power devices and materials," said Takahide Kimura, Corporate Senior VP, New Business Development, 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.

"As a strong vote of confidence, Furukawa Electric has made a significant equity investment and obtained a minority equity stake in Transphorm," said Fumihide Esaka, CEO, Transphorm. "We are pleased to announce this strong partnership with a global leader like Furukawa Electric."

About Transphorm

Transphorm is redefining electric power conversion, providing cost-competitive and easy-to-embed power conversion modules that reduce costly energy loss by more than 50%, and simplify the design and manufacturing of motor drives, power supplies and inverters for solar panels and electric vehicles. From material technology and device fabrication to circuit design and module assembly, Transphorm designs and delivers its power conversion devices and modules to meet the needs of global customers. By creating an ecosystem of electrical systems manufacturers powered by Transphorm, the company accelerates the adoption of power devices and modules that pave the way for the next generation of electrical systems designed for optimal efficiency.

To learn more about Transphorm, please visit www.transphormusa.com.

About Furukawa Electric

Furukawa Electric (TSE: 5801) started business in 1884, when its copper-smelting facility and wire manufacturing factory was established. Since then Furukawa Electric have become pioneers in the latest technologies by addressing diverse technological issues. Furukawa Electric has released products in a number of areas, including telecommunications, electronics, automobiles, and construction, with the three types of materials it works with at their core, namely, optics, plastics, and metals. Many of these products have attained the top global market share, and all of its products have contributed to society in numerous business areas. Furukawa Electric reported consolidated revenues of 931.8 billion yen (154 billion yen for telecommunications) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014.

To learn more about Furukawa Electric, please visit https://www.furukawa.co.jp/english/. 

SOURCE: Transphorm Inc.

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