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Conexant Accused of Stealing Name

Courts: Newport Beach company and its merger partner are the target of an infringement lawsuit.

June 12, 2002|From Bloomberg News

A New Jersey software company has sued Conexant Systems Inc. and Alpha Industries Inc. to block them from naming their merged wireless semiconductor company Skyworks Solutions Inc.

Skyworks Technologies Inc., a closely held developer of Web promotional games, contends in a federal trademark-infringement suit filed in Santa Ana that the companies are stealing its name.

Alpha, based in Woburn, Mass., and the wireless business of Conexant, based in Newport Beach, are expected to complete their merger by Friday, and stock in the new company is expected to start trading Monday.

The suit says the plan to use the Skyworks name and the Internet domain name will cause confusion among consumers and hurt Skyworks Technologies' business.

The Hackensack, N.J., company said its customers include Viacom Inc.'s Comedy Central cable-television network, Kraft Foods Inc., PepsiCo Inc. and Ford Motor Co.

Alpha and Conexant knew or should have known "their conduct was likely to so mislead the public," the suit says. It accused Alpha and Conexant of committing "fraud, oppression, malice and other such conduct."

The suit asks a judge to block Alpha and Conexant from using the Skyworks name in connection with any "software, computer, Internet, telecommunications, data transmission, wireless networks and related fields" or from using an Internet address similar to that of Skyworks Technologies. It also seeks monetary damages.

The lawsuit is similar to one that is pending against Philip Morris Cos. The tobacco company wants to change its name to Altria Group Inc., and a closely held venture-capital firm named Altira Group is seeking to block that change.

Alpha Chief Executive David Aldrich said in an interview last month that he didn't believe a "reasonable person" would confuse the mobile-phone chip business of Skyworks Solutions with the promotional games business of Skyworks Technologies.

Alpha shares rose 85 cents to $6.75, while shares of Conexant fell 22 cents to $4.78, both on Nasdaq.

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