Black Sand Tech Buys Silicon Labs PA Patents

Black Sand Technologies Inc., an Austin, Texas-based developer of mixed-signal semiconductors, has acquired a patent portfolio related to CMOS power amplifiers (PAs) from Silicon Laboratories. No financial terms were disclosed. Black Sand has raised around $18 million in VC funding from Austin Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners.

Black Sand Technologies, Inc., a specialist in advanced power amplifier technology for wireless applications, today announced that it previously acquired a patent portfolio related to CMOS power amplifiers (PAs) from Silicon Laboratories.

According to the terms of the transaction, Black Sand received a number of issued and pending patents from Silicon Laboratories. The U.S. and international patents include claims and methods related to power amplifier architectures and implementations that can be used in a CMOS process.

In September, Black Sand announced the world’s first 3G CMOS RF PA. Black Sand’s proprietary CMOS PA architecture offers a breakthrough in combined performance, cost, battery life, and reliability for mobile devices.

“The acquired IP represents important technology for Black Sand, significantly advancing our position as the leader in this field,” said John Diehl, CEO of Black Sand. “When combined with our internally developed IP, these foundational patents give us a unique combination of outstanding technology and substantial IP.” Detailed terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Black Sand’s RF PA products are targeted at mobile phones and other 3G wireless devices, such as datacards and netbooks. Mobile phones and wireless products today use power amplifiers based on Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) semiconductor technology. Replacing GaAs with CMOS improves manufacturing yield, performance, cost, battery life, and call quality.