June 5, 2007 – Immediately following product announcements by both Knowles Acoustics and Akustica, Inc., the two MEMS microphone suppliers now announce partnership in a cross-licensing arrangement that hopes to reinforce the strength of each one’s respective patent portfolios. Knowles and Akustica together lead the market for silicon MEMS microphone design, manufacturing, and sales; and both firms’ processing and packaging innovations are tightly protected by patents. The terms of the agreement are confidential, but the partners report that there will be no restrictions on sales of products from either company.
“Knowles was the first company to launch a MEMS microphone product and ramp into high volume manufacturing,” said Jeffrey Niew, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Knowles Acoustics, “but we have always recognized that the growth and success of the MEMS microphone industry is based on the entry of other MEMS microphone manufacturers into the market. This agreement encourages competition in the marketplace while also acknowledging that the basis of fair competition is intellectual property protection.”
“This agreement will benefit Knowles and Akustica customers”, said Jim Rock, president and CEO of Akustica. “Cooperation between the MEMS microphone market leaders creates an environment that stimulates innovation. The customers win by having a choice between microphone products and can select the solution that works best for their applications.”
Knowles Acoustics is a division of Knowles Electronics LLC, developer of microacoustic technology for the hearing health and consumer electronics industries among others. Akustica supplies digital-output microphone products for Internet telephony on notebooks to PC camera modules and mobile phones.