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Anza Technology, Inc. v. Mushkin, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

August 28, 2018

ANZA TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MUSHKIN, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          Michael E. Hegarty, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Defendant Mushkin, Inc. seeks to dismiss Plaintiff Anza Technologies, Inc.'s Second Amended Complaint. I find that 35 U.S.C. § 286 bars Anza's damages for patent infringement, because the newly asserted claims do not relate back to those in its First Amended Complaint. Accordingly, I grant Mushkin's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Facts

         Anza makes the following relevant factual allegations (as opposed to legal conclusions, bare assertions, or merely conclusory allegations) in its Second Amended Complaint, which I take as true for my analysis under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         Anza produces and sells products that are used in assembling electronics. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 75. Relevant here, Anza manufactures products that minimize electrostatic discharge when connecting integrated circuit chips to other electrical components, such as semiconductor dies and circuit boards. See Id. Mushkin was involved in the acquisition and sale of computer memory products until 2012, when it sold this portion of its business to Avant Technologies, Inc. Id. ¶¶ 8-9, 12.

         Integrated circuit chips are connected to electrical components through various bonding techniques. Id. ¶¶ 14-19. "Wire bonding is the method of making interconnections with the integrated circuit and other components using, for example, gold or copper wire and the application of ultra-sonicsorheat." Id. ¶ 17. The following is an example of a wire bonded semi-conductor die:

         (Image Omitted)

Id. ¶ 13. To achieve a connection with minimal electrostatic discharge, the wire is placed on the circuit and bonded using a tool tip. Id. ¶ 18; U.S. Patent No. 6, 354, 479, at 8 (issued Mar. 12, 2002) ('"479 patent"), ECF No. 75-3. In 2000, Anza obtained two patents over its wire bonding tool tip. '479 Patent; U.S. Patent No. 6, 651, 864 (issued Nov. 25, 2003)('"864 patent"), ECFNo. 75-4. The patents include diagrams illustrating the wire bonding tool and tip:

         (Image Omitted)

'479 patent, at 4, 5; '864 patent, at.4.

         "Flip chip bonding" is a different method for connecting integrated circuit chips to electrical components. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 19. This technique deposits solder bumps on a substrate and then places a "flipped" or "face-down" integrated circuit chip onto the substrate so that the bumps directly connect the circuit and substrate. Id. Thus, "[w]ire bonding techniques use 'face-up' chips with a wire connection to each pad. Bump or 'flip chip' microelectronic assembly, on the other hand, is a direct electrical connection of face-down-'flipped'-electronic components onto substrates ..." U.S. Patent No. 7, 124, 927, at 10 (issued Oct. 24, 2006) ('"927 patent"), ECF No. 20-1.

         When flip chip bonding, a tool must be used to deposit solder balls and minimize electrostatic discharge. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 20. In 2005, Anza obtained a patent on its flip chip and solder ball placement tool. '927 patent. The following diagram, which is ...


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