Court Rules in Favor of IMEC in Rose Research Lawsuit

The Dallas County District Court has ruled that there were no grounds for damages claim by the shareholders of Rose Research against IMEC. With this judgement IMEC is not to be held responsible for the financial losses supposedly incurred by the shareholders of Rose Research due to the failing of Rose Research in the commercialisation of a technology. Since the end of 2003, a complaint has been pending filed by the shareholders of Rose Research – an investment company from Texas (USA) with Belgian roots – against, among others, the Leuven research centre IMEC. The judge has now upheld the jury’s verdict of 20 March of this year.

At the end of 2003 a writ was issued against IMEC in the Texan court by the Rose Research shareholders. In 1998, IMEC granted a licence to Rose Research for the commercialization of results from a joint research project between the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and IMEC. As is common practice for a research centre such as IMEC, the licence was granted without any guarantee regarding a possible industrialization, as product development is always the industrial partner’s task. Rose Research was only liable to pay a fee for the licence should they manage to successfully commercialize the technology. An agreement of this nature is typical of a win-win deal between a research centre and an industrial partner.

The technology licensed by IMEC was only one of the technologies Rose Research was trying to market and for which Rose Research was in contact with researchers at several universities in the world. In the period between 1997 and 2001, it appeared that – through various circumstances and totally out of IMEC’s control – the commercialization was not happening as had been hoped and the anticipated business was not realized. At first, the Rose Research shareholders tried to hold the Rose Research management responsible for this situation. At the time, Rose Research was managed by Mr Y. Darius (CEO) and Prof. R. Vounckx (CTO). Apart from his position as CTO with Rose Research as well as professor at the VUB, Prof. R. Vounckx had been supporting the scientific side of the broader cooperation between IMEC and VUB for some years. The Rose Research shareholders alleged the role of Prof. R. Vounckx in this matter was unclear and attempted to make IMEC responsible for the insufficient proceeds of the technologies they wanted to market.

On June 28, 2007, the judge upheld the jury’s verdict of March 20, 2007 by drawing up and signing the judgement. The judge and the jury rejected the charge, saying that IMEC is in no way responsible for the losses the Rose Research shareholders claim to have incurred. They found that IMEC may have been insufficiently clear as to their relation with the VUB. On the other hand, they expressly stated that this cannot have caused any damage to the Rose Research shareholders. IMEC further points out that the Rose Research shareholders could have been perfectly aware of the relationship between IMEC and the VUB through their contacts in Belgium. IMEC therefore regrets having been unjustly involved in this case.

About IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC’s research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems. IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has a sister company in the Netherlands, IMEC Nederland, concentrating on wireless autonomous transducer solutions, and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1500 people includes more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2006, its revenue (P&L) was EUR 227 million.