MediaTek

Headquarters: Hsinchu, Taiwan

Industry sector: Semiconductors

The mission statement of Taiwan fabless semiconductor company MediaTek is simple: to make technology cheaper and simpler to use. The strategy is paying handsome dividends for this disruptive player: the number of smartphones incorporating its chips soared from 10 million in 2011 to 110 million the following year. With over 5,000 patents to its name, it is known for its savvy approach to IP management. One notable example is a royalty-free patent agreement inked with Qualcomm in 2009 for the use of 3G technology – analysts suggested that MediaTek’s strong position in TD-SCDMA chips gained it traction in the negotiations. The company has equally proved a shrewd tactician in litigation: after careful analysis, it determined to fight back when Freescale Semiconductor sued it for infringement in 2011, asserting the same patent that had secured the Texas-based company favourable results against other rivals. MediaTek was correct in its assessment and was ultimately vindicated in the ITC and US federal courts. The two companies finally reached a settlement last September shortly after a California judge ruled that Freescale had infringed one of the three patents at issue in the most recent iteration of the dispute. The Taiwanese company had asked the court for $23.4 million in royalty damages, but the settlement came just prior to a jury’s deliberations.