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Old 19th March 2017
Gear Maniac
Uli Behringer's Avatar

Originally Posted by Discopotato View Post
His Chip manufacturer CoolAudio is not about to refuse sales or contracts to other companies. Economics doesn't work that way.
Please allow me to provide some facts around IP (Intellectual Property) and Coolaudio.

In 2000 we acquired the Coolaudio business from the US semiconductor company Intersil, which included a large amount of patents and other IP.

Since then the company has focused on offering design services around analog and mixed architecture semiconductors for external customers.

For more than a decade Coolaudio has also specialized in reissuing legacy chips and components mainly for the audio industry, chips that are used by customers such as DSI, Boss (Roland), Elektron, and many more.
Coolaudio's mission is to make legacy semiconductors available to everyone in order to enable manufacturers to create products - even if they compete with us.

Coolaudio has now become a major source for BBD (Bucket Brigade Device) chips which can be found in effects pedals and audio equipment of many reputable companies.

Around 7 years ago I announced on the German magazine that we are embarking on a journey to build analog synthesizers and with it we would be starting the process to reissue Curtis and SSM semiconductors.

6 years ago we then successfully launched the first SSM clone, the 2164 VCA. Recently we also introduced a replica of the 3340 VCO, and the 3320 VCF will soon follow. We are also considering to reissue more of the legacy Curtis and SSM portfolio.

All patents expire after around 20 years and hence the 40 year old Curtis and SSM technology is now public domain, which also includes all mask designs etc. This means everyone is allowed to create exact replicas of these legacy chips.
In fact there are other companies who have successfully reproduced Curtis chips – in this case the 3320 VCF.


If you want to understand how common clones are in the semiconductor industry, have a look at the famous TL074 opamp, which has been produced by almost every known semicon company.

OnChip/Curtis have registered the trademarks Curtis and CEM which means they have exclusivity over those trademarks, just in the same manner as Coolaudio or Texas Instruments marks are protected.
However, everyone is allowed to replicate the chips and offer them for sale, provided they use a different brand and product name.

The limited lifespan of a patent allows an inventor to enjoy the commercial benefits for around 20 years before the technology becomes public domain.
This is for the purpose of allowing others to use the technology after the patent expiration and for society to progress.

This is good news as it allows manufacturers to build the highly desired analog synths again and for people to get replacement parts to maintain their old synth jewels.


Last edited by Uli Behringer; 19th March 2017 at 08:13 PM..