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.
"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."
Transphorm had already introduced 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.
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.