TCK is expected to widen its patent lawsuit over silicon carbide (SiC) rings to multiple companies.
Park Gwang-jae, an executive vice president at TCK, or Tokai Carbon Korea, told an audience during a local conference held at Yeouido on Wednesday that there were companies that were high likely to be infringing on the patents it held and the company was seeking compensation for this.
Park didn’t refer to the specific patents but it is likely those related to SiC rings, which are used to hold the wafer in place during chip production.
As SiC is more durable than quartz, silicon and other materials, rings made with the material are being highly sought after by chipmakers to make premium chips such as 3D NAND.
While TCK has dominated the South Korean market for SiC rings, it recently concluded a patent lawsuit with DS Techno in March.
The Supreme Court, while it invalidated TCK’s patents related to characteristics, validated patents related to manufacturing methods.
TCK said it uses multiple nozzles to spray the raw material in stack them during its SiC ring production.
The company claims that other companies are using this method of using multiple nozzles, which it alleges infringes on its related patents.
Besides DS Techno, South Korean aftermarket companies Hana Materials and KNJ are also planning to enter the SiC sector.
Park said one aftermarket company is seeking a licensing agreement with TCK for the SiC production method it uses.
Aftermarket companies are companies that supply the rings directly to the chipmakers, while beforemarket companies use fab equipment makers as an intermediary.
Meanwhile, TCK is expecting its second-quarter earnings to be worst than the first quarter.
This will be because of lowered sales from China, the continued high inventory of the chip sector and aftermarket companies entering the SiC sector, Park explained.
The lowered volume of export to China by customers Applied Materials and Lam Research is expected to be especially damaging.