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$58 Million Award in Tech Patent Case

PLANO, Texas (CN) - Military and aerospace supplier Intersil must pay a Dallas-area company $58.7 million for infringing on light sensor technology that allows flat-panel displays to adjust brightness based on ambient light, a federal jury ruled.

The jury deliberated for more than six hours Friday before finding for Plano-based Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions (TAOS) in its lawsuit against Milpitas, California-based Intersil.

TAOS sued in 2008, claiming misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, tortious interference and patent infringement.

Intersil was ordered to pay $48.7 million in compensatory damages for misappropriation of trade secrets and $10 million in punitive damages for tortious interference and misappropriation of trade secrets.

During a month-long trial, TAOS officials testified that the company was targeted for purchase by Intersil in 2004 as a way to enter the light sensor market.

Jurors were told details of nondisclosure agreements the companies entered into leading up to a merger or purchase and how information about the technology, vendors and pricing were shared.

TAOS claimed that Intersil "did not make a reasonable offer" to buy the company, then introduced a competing light sensor product within a year after the talks ended.

Jurors were told that Intersil used TAOS' confidential pricing information to undercut it in negotiations with Apple and win supply contracts for the second generation iPhone 3G and iPod Touch.

Plaintiff's attorney Jamil Alibhai, with Munck Wilson in Dallas, told the jury during closing arguments that "Intersil had the opportunity and ability to buy TAOS but instead chose to embark on a course of conduct that involved lying, cheating and stealing."

Intersil did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.

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