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'Illegal???? Micon Knockoff of PICs -'
1999\07\19@092153 by Lawrence Lile

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Dearest Picsters:


We recently sent a PIC design to a Korean manufacturer to build.  They came
back with a vastly changed design, including the processor.  Here's what
they say:


>. The CPU is changed from Microchip's PIC16CXX series to Micon's
MDT1020/2020
> series. The new IC is from a Taiwan IC company and
> is 100% PIC-compatible.

"100% comaptible" although the chip we sent over has no onboard brownout
protection, although the Micon chip does.   Phooey.

My Microchip Rep said, a while back, that these knockoffs "May not be legal
in the US because of patent violations."  Of course, he would LIKE them to
be illegal so he has less competition.  Is he right?

My question is - is it legal to import the Micon MDT1020 in the US?

My second question - should I hang my Korean supplier by his TOES or his
NECK?

1999\07\19@104702 by Lawrence Lile

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A search for web pages turned up Micon Electronics ltd. in Taiwan, but they
only make a half dozen toys.  Could this pipsqueak be Microchip's
competition??!!??!?!!!!!??

http://www.micon.com.tw



{Original Message removed}

1999\07\19@112706 by Lawrence Lile

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Funny, the web page doesn't mention the name Micon.  But it does list the
parts...  This is all very fishy...


{Original Message removed}

1999\07\19@114532 by John Hansen

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<x-flowed>At 10:25 AM 7/19/99 -0500, you wrote:
>Funny, the web page doesn't mention the name Micon.  But it does list the
>parts...  This is all very fishy...

Ah! But you see, everything's fine, because the Web Page specifically says
that the chips are "Patent authorized"!  ;)

John Hansen



>{Original Message removed}

1999\07\19@120359 by Lawrence Lile

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Yes John, the "Patent Authorized"  statement makes me really confident.
(NOT!!!)
Has anybody bought from these copycats?

----->
>Ah! But you see, everything's fine, because the Web Page specifically says
>that the chips are "Patent authorized"!  ;)
>
>John Hansen
>
>
>
>>{Original Message removed}

1999\07\19@124124 by Wagner Lipnharski

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hmmm... did you guys see the "Pirates of Silicon Valley" movie recently
at TNT? it is the "possible" story of Microsoft and Apple companies...
there you can see Steve Jobs receiving "for free" the user graphics
interface (GUI) from Xerox (including the "mouse interface") what made
Bill Gates very nervous (since Bill had only DOS, well, he didn't, but
anyway he sold it to IBM...and then went to find out who had it...
funny) and magically after few business agreements between Microsoft and
Apple, where Microsoft would produce some software to Apple (First
MacIntosh), Microsoft should gain access to Apple "windows" to do the
job, and then again, magically, Japan Nippon Electric Corporation (NEC)
came up with a nice Windows Machine... and it was not Steve who sold to
them...and at the movie Bill made that flat face that means "and so
what?"...<g>... it means what?  That we can not purchase Microsoft
Windows anymore because it "could" be pirate too? or even NEC machines?

Now... I am totally neutral... <g>, but, suppose I take a Atmel 80 Mips
RISC core, costing $1.80 a piece in 100k quantity, build an imbedded
package with a PIC code interpreter, seal it in a DIP28 package and sell
it as a 100% PIC compatible unit for only $2.30, and as a benefit it
still running at 30Mips <g>... what is it? Piracy? hmmm...

Second point... If I write a book about poems... <g>...yeah, well, but
in real I do not copy them from the original authors, but instead I just
point their books and pages... my book would be like an index, without a
single poem word copied from the authors... people could buy my book
because they would have a pointer where to read those poems... is it
piracy? ... because I am doing money with other people's work!!!

those lines on the floor are not very well traced, isn't?

1999\07\19@143023 by Lawrence Lile

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Points well taken.  I just want to keep from violating patent laws.  If
MCHIP is suing these guys for patent infringement I want to be rid of them!
Seems the lines on the COURTROOM floor ought to be a little less vague.




{Original Message removed}

1999\07\19@164127 by steveb

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> Points well taken.  I just want to keep from violating patent laws.  If
> MCHIP is suing these guys for patent infringement I want to be rid of them!
> Seems the lines on the COURTROOM floor ought to be a little less vague.

It's pretty likely that Microchip will be suing these guys, simply
because that is what Microchip does. IIRC,  there is a claim filed in
Germany or something.
Would you use Scenix parts ?
The MDT's are less 'clone' than the SX and aren't object compatable
(although they do provide a hex file translation utility).

It seems that the words "Pirate" and "Competitor" are often confused
on this mailing list.

Steve.



======================================================
Steve Baldwin                Electronic Product Design
TLA Microsystems Ltd         Microcontroller Specialists
PO Box 15-680, New Lynn      http://www.tla.co.nz
Auckland, New Zealand        ph  +64 9 820-2221
email: spam_OUTstevebTakeThisOuTspamtla.co.nz      fax +64 9 820-1929
======================================================

1999\07\19@212748 by Mike Keitz

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On Mon, 19 Jul 1999 08:20:53 -0500 Lawrence Lile <.....lilelKILLspamspam@spam@TOASTMASTER.COM>
writes:
>
>>. The CPU is changed from Microchip's PIC16CXX series to Micon's
>MDT1020/2020
>> series. The new IC is from a Taiwan IC company and
>> is 100% PIC-compatible.

These chips are used in the new X-10 products.  I just received my
Firecracker promotional kit, and of course before plugging it in I had to
look inside.  The TM751 transceiver and the HR12A remote each contain a
DT2005 chip (The FireCracker transmitter itself has a genuine Microchp
12C508, while the Lamp Module uses an 18-pin chip that is probably full
custom).  The 'DT2005' is wired in the circuit exactly like an 18-pin PIC
chip.

So I make two conclusions:

* Someone is already selling large quantities of products containing
these chips in the USA.  X-10 claims to have shipped more than a million
of these promotional systems.

* The chips apparently can be made to work, though we can't conclude they
are exactly like PICs.

* It will be very easy and fun to hack these units by removing the
original chips and putting in PICs.

and a few speculations:

* If Microchip sues, they will be unsuccessful.  It didn't work with
Scenix, or Intel vs. AMD, Cyrix, etc.

* Hopefully Microchip will concentrate on making money from PIC18s, and
become fiercely competitive with the PIC16's

>"100% comaptible" although the chip we sent over has no onboard
>brownout
>protection, although the Micon chip does.   Phooey.

There may be slight differences...  It was bad practice for the
manufacturer to replace the chip without consulting you first.  You may
have a right to reject the lot of units.  Obviously you need to test the
Micon chips all over the place to be sure they'll work for you.  If your
product turns out to fail in the field, there's serious damage to your
company's reputation.  I'd send the whole mess back and tell them to put
Microchips in instead or forget it.

>My question is - is it legal to import the Micon MDT1020 in the US?

Someone else is already doing it.  But, the X-10 stuff is all made in
China, the Chinese maker may have done it without asking too.

>My second question - should I hang my Korean supplier by his TOES or
>his
>NECK?

No, move to Texas, invite him over, and shoot him in the back.


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1999\07\19@214004 by Steve Ridley

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Hi Lawrence

Taking a bit of tangent from your topic. I am interested in having PIC
designs manufactured in Korea or somewhere like that. Is this something you
have done successfully ? Who do you deal with ? Do you just supply them with
a schematic and they take it from there ? Is it cost effective ? A lot of
questions I know. It is something I have wondered about for a while.

Steve

{Original Message removed}

1999\07\20@023012 by netquake

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You're right. There's also a lot of 'third-party' business around
chips that we could say are making money around others work.
I think that these kind of companies are to be respected when they
have done substantial work for themselves(original ideas)
Fortunately is not difficult to identify these 'fishy' copycats
companies.
My $0.02.

{Quote hidden}

------------------------------------
netQ <netquakespamKILLspaminnocent.com>
http://virtuaweb.com/picprog
"Home of amateur PIC programmers..."

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1999\07\20@070944 by Caisson

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> Van: Lawrence Lile <.....lilelKILLspamspam.....toastmaster.com>
> Aan: EraseMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Onderwerp: Re: Illegal???? Micon Knockoff of PICs -
> Datum: maandag 19 juli 1999 20:28
>
> Points well taken.  I just want to keep from violating patent laws.  If
> MCHIP is suing these guys for patent infringement I want to be rid of
them!
> Seems the lines on the COURTROOM floor ought to be a little less vague.

And with that you are falling for the oldest trick in the book.  Sue the
little begger !  Maybe we can scare his customers off ...

But then again, it's better safe than sorry.  And that's just what MChip is
playing on.

Greetz,
 Rudy Wieser

1999\07\20@134210 by neil

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If I recall right Microchip did not invent the PIC processor. It was
available from
Intersil before there was a Microchip. the 16x54 series was available in
MOS technology and used in many early cable TV boxes.

I assume that Microchip has legal use of the design and am not
suggesting any wrong doing by Microchip whatever.

--
Neil
http://www.aade.com
neilspamspam_OUTaade.com
Almost All Digital Electronics
1412 Elm St. SE
Auburn, WA 98092
253-351-9316

1999\07\20@144855 by kfinney

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Wasn't the PIC the "Peripheral Interface Controller", and wasn't it made by
General Instruments? Didn't they eventually spin-off that division, which
became
Microchip ?

Or was that a dream sequence in an episode of Dallas  :^) ?

-----------------------------------------
Kenneth C. Finney
=========================================
Wilkes Associates, Inc.
Software Engineering - Embedded Systems
Design & Development - Project Management
=========================================
Office:  (416) 445-9224
Mobile:  (416) 453-6400
-----------------------------------------

> {Original Message removed}

1999\07\21@195621 by Eric Smith

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neil <@spam@neilKILLspamspamAADE.COM> wrote:
> If I recall right Microchip did not invent the PIC processor. It was
> available from
> Intersil before there was a Microchip. the 16x54 series was available in
> MOS technology and used in many early cable TV boxes.

No.  General Instruments developed the original PIC processors in the 70s.
Intersil was not involved.  GI spun off their microelectronics group as
Microchip Technologies.  So Microchip definitely does own the PIC.

However, what does this ownership mean?  Clearly no one else can use their
trademarks (including "PICmicro") for a competing product.  No one else
can copy their copyrighted software, data sheets, and documentation.  No one
else can make exact copies of PIC dice (the actually silicon layout).

But beyond that, the only thing preventing cloning the PIC architecture is
patent law.  Microchip does have some patents relating to PICs, but they are
very peripheral to the architecture.  For instance, some of their patents
cover the way that they implement code protection and brownout detection.
Both of those things can be done differently without seriously compromising
compatability.

Even if they had some patents on the CPU core architecture, they would have
long since expired, since there were NMOS PICs in the 70s that had the
same basic architecture.

For my own part, however, I wouldn't use a PIC clone without doing an
extremely thorough evaluation.  The PIC isn't an extremely compex part,
but it is complex enough that it would be easy for a would-be cloner to
make mistakes and wind up with a not-quite-compatible part.

1999\07\23@101653 by Lawrence Lile

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Well, I'm getting ready to recieve 5000 units a week made with (ugh) PIC
clones.  I hope to hell you guys fears are unfounded.  I for one can't sleep
at night and have taken up baldness and biting my fingernails back to the
second knuckle.

-- Lawrence Lile


{Original Message removed}

1999\07\23@102113 by Lawrence Lile

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On the other hand, I think cloning was actually good for the personal
computer industry.  Look at the price difference between a formerly
clone-free MAC and a cloned IBM PC.  And look at market penetration.  Apple
almost went under, and had no clones.  And how 'bout IBM?   As much as
MCHIP, (my heroes) may hate it, competition will make the PIC a household
word.  They are now in the position of INTEL, making most of their money off
new technology, and not getting down in the mud with all those Taiwan small
time fabs.  They will probably make a lot more profit and generate a lot
more neat technology if they catch onto this trend.


I'll tell you guys the sob stories as soon as the clones start to fail.

-- Lawrence Lile


{Original Message removed}


'Illegal???? Micon Knockoff of PICs -'
1999\08\11@132417 by tmariner
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> If I recall right Microchip did not invent the PIC processor. It was
> available from
> Intersil before there was a Microchip. the 16x54 series was
> available in
> MOS technology and used in many early cable TV boxes.

Nope! - The first real PIC was the 16C55 and was a derivative of a chip that
was a Peripheral Interface Chip to the General Instrument CP1600. Some of
the crew that worked on the initial designs are still involved in emulator
chips, etc. for Microchip.

(It should be noted that one of the additional accomplishments of that team
was the redesign of the TI 320 series from NMOS to CMOS when GI / Microchip
cross sold the 8 bit and DSP processors from TI.)

>
> I assume that Microchip has legal use of the design and am not
> suggesting any wrong doing by Microchip whatever.

They do and they didn't.

Tom
>

1999\08\12@005319 by Ravi Pailoor

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Pailoor

tmariner wrote:

{Quote hidden}

--
Website : http://business.vsnl.com/chiptech


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