Magma(R) Design Automation Inc. (Nasdaq:LAVA) announced that a U.S. District Court ruled Synopsys Inc. (Nasdaq:SNPS) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) jointly own two of the three patents at issue in the California patent litigation between Magma and Synopsys, a decision consistent with the position Magma argued regarding the two patents. The court ruled that the third patent is owned solely by Synopsys.
“We are extremely pleased with this ruling,” said David Stanley, Magma corporate vice president, Corporate Affairs. “It is a major step toward dismissal of infringement claims with regard to these two patents.”
The ruling, issued in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, holds that ownership in U.S. Patents 6,453,446 and 6,725,438 (the ’446 and ’438 patents), is shared by Synopsys and IBM. The court ruled ownership of U.S. Patent 6,378,114 (the ’114 patent) belongs solely to Synopsys.
“As the facts came to light in this case it became clear that IBM, one of Magma’s technology partners, contributed to the technology in these two patents and is therefore a rightful owner,” Stanley said. He added that because Magma and IBM granted each other rights to their respective EDA patents in a 2004 licensing agreement, Magma therefore has rights to use the ’446 and ’438 patents.
With regard to the final patent at issue in the case, the ’114 patent, Stanley said Magma is confident its products do not practice any of the technology it covers and therefore do not infringe the patent, but that in any case its validity is highly questionable because it is already under reexamination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). “In its initial decision the PTO rejected all 15 claims in the ’114 patent, and since then we filed another request citing additional prior art,” Stanley said. “It’s quite possible the ’114 patent could be invalidated entirely, resulting in the dismissal of the claims of infringement.”
This case, which Synopsys filed in 2004, is one of two patent lawsuits between the companies. In the second case, filed by Synopsys in U.S. District Court for Delaware in 2005, Synopsys asserts Magma infringes a Synopsys patent and Magma claims Synopsys infringes four Magma patents. The trial in the Delaware case is scheduled to begin in June 2007.
“I think it is by now clear to our industry that litigation such as this consumes far too much time and money, resources that are not helping us help our customers,” Stanley said. “We are hopeful we can all adopt a less-litigious posture and focus on developing technology that helps our customers create better chips.”
Filings, court orders and other documents relevant to these matters are available on the Magma website at www.magma-da.com/PatentLitigation.html.
Magma’s software for integrated circuit (IC) design is recognized as embodying the best in semiconductor technology. The world’s top chip companies use Magma’s EDA software to design and verify complex, high-performance ICs for communications, computing, consumer electronics and networking applications, while at the same time reducing design time and costs. Magma provides software for IC implementation, analysis, physical verification, characterization and programmable logic design, and the company’s integrated RTL-to-GDSII design flow offers “The Fastest Path from RTL to Silicon”(TM). Magma is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. with offices around the world. Magma’s stock trades on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LAVA.
Magma is a registered trademark and “The Fastest Path from RTL to Silicon” is a trademark of Magma Design Automation Inc.