© zeiss Business | April 24, 2017
Nikon issues shot across the bows
Nikon has initiated a series of legal actions in the Netherlands, Germany and Japan intended to halt infringement of its intellectual property by Dutch semiconductor lithography system manufacturer ASML and Carl Zeiss SMT.
ASML and Zeiss, states the claim, employ Nikon’s patented technology in ASML’s lithography systems, which are used globally to manufacture semiconductors, without Nikon’s permission, thereby infringing Nikon’s patents. Nikon has initiated eleven patent infringement cases against ASML in the District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands and is filing patent infringement cases against ASML in Tokyo District Court in Japan and against Zeiss in Mannheim, Germany where the company manufactures optical components used in ASML’s immersion lithography systems that are the subjects of these suits. Immersion lithography technology, which Nikon pioneered in the early 2000s, has become essential in fabricating the state-of-the-art semiconductors used in smartphones, memory chips and countless other products. Today, ASML and Nikon are the only companies in the world that make and sell immersion lithography systems. “Through substantial and sustained investment in R&D, Nikon has developed advanced lithography technologies, including immersion lithography technology, that have revolutionized the semiconductor industry,” said Kazuo Ushida, President, Representative Director of Nikon. “Semiconductors are core components of the electronic devices on which consumers, companies and the global economy rely. We are proud of the role that our technology has played in advancing the global information society. “ “We firmly believe that ASML’s unauthorized use of Nikon patents on our most advanced technologies, including immersion lithography technology, has enabled ASML to expand its lithography business. Respect for intellectual property is fundamental to fair and healthy competition, and is essential to promoting innovations that provide society with the most advanced products and services. That is why we have decided to commence this litigation.” Nikon has previously brought legal actions against ASML and Zeiss in relation to unauthorized use of its patented technology. Previous cases in the United States were settled on terms favorable to Nikon.
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