Electronic Design

The Patents In Question

Power-One's patents cover digital power management and control incorporated in its Z-One system architecture, which controls distributed point-of-load (POL) regulators from a single digital power manager.

One of the patents (6,949,916, issued September 27, 2005) is "System and method for controlling a point-of-load regulator." It describes the use of serial bus control (either passively or actively) for a point-of-load (POL) regulator. Here, the controller writes initial configuration data to at least one POL regulator via the serial bus and employs a register for maintaining POL information.

Another patent is 6,936,999, issued August 30, 2005: "System and method for controlling output timing of power converters." This concept employs a controller to transmit output-timing data to at least one POL regulator. Examples of output-timing data include sequencing data and turn-on and turn-off data.

Additional patents are applications that haven't been issued. Filed on November 13, 2002, "System and method for communicating with a voltage regulator" (USPTO 10/293,001) describes a control unit that programs and/or monitors a POL regulator. In one configuration, the POL regulator includes a sensor circuit that generates fault-monitoring data.

A second patent application (10/326,222), filed December 21, 2002, describes a method and system for controlling and monitoring an array of POL regulators. It consists of a power control system with multiple POL regulators controlled by a serial data bus. It employs a system controller that uses a serial data bus to send and receive digital data from POL regulators.

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