Motorola And Hitachi In Settlement

By Lawrence M. Fisher
The New York Times

San Francisco -- October 8, 1990 -- Motorola Inc. and Hitachi Ltd. said today that they had reached a settlement in their dispute over chip patents. While terms of the settlement were not disclosed, it will remove the threat that Motorola might have to halt shipments of its 68030 microprocessor, which serves as the central chip in computers made by Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Next Inc. and other companies.

The two companies had announced an agreement in principle in June.

Motorola said yesterday that it would file joint motions with Hitachi before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas requesting the dismissal of all pending cases involving Hitachi's microcontrollers and Motorola's microprocessors. The suits date from January 1989, when Motorola sued Hitachi, asserting that its microcontrollers infringed Motorola patents; Hitachi countersued.

Pleased With Settlement

''We are very pleased with this settlement,'' James A. Norling, president of Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector, said in a statement. ''Our unwavering goals in this legal action were to protect Motorola's intellectual property, and to assure our customers an uninterrupted supply of Motorola's microprocessors. This settlement achieves both those goals.'' A Motorola spokesman declined to provide additional details.

''I would guess it is primarily a patent license exchange,'' said Michael Slater, editor of the Microprocessor Report, an industry newsletter. Despite press reports that Hitachi sought rights to produce Motorola's 68030, Mr. Slater said that was not likely to be included. He said the agreement probably included a cross-licensing of patents, and perhaps some transfer of funds, but no exchange of technology.

Judge Lucius D. Bunton of the United States District Court in Austin, Tex., ruled in March that the Motorola 68030 infringed a Hitachi patent and ordered Motorola to halt shipments. He also ordered Hitachi to stop selling its H8/532, saying it infringed Motorola patents.

Motorola asked for and obtained a stay of the order, so that supplies of the chip were never interrupted. Hitachi originally made Motorola microcontrollers under license, but began making its own with the H8 series.

Copyright 1990 The New York Times Company