Peter Wennink: “We should compete in the marketplace and not in court.”
ASML’s Peter Wennink is furious about Nikon’s announced legal claim for alleged patent infringement by ASML and Zeiss in three countries. ASML has not yet received a notification of a legal action and categorically denies any infringement allegations. “We should compete in the marketplace and not in court.”

ASML believes that Nikon’s claim is without merit. “We will defend ourselves vigorously against the allegations and we will consider all means at our disposal.”

According to Nikon, “ASML and Zeiss 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”.

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    “Nikon’s litigation is unfounded, unnecessary and creates uncertainty for the semiconductor industry.”Peter Wennink, CEO ASML

    What’s the claim all about? 
    ASML and Nikon in 2004 concluded a patent cross-license agreement. Some patents were perpetually licensed; for others, the license period ended on 31 December 2009. A transitional period, during which the parties had agreed not to bring suit, ended on 31 December 2014. Peter Wennink, ASML President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Over the past years, ASML has made repeated attempts to negotiate an extension of its cross-license agreement with Nikon. We are disappointed that Nikon did not make any serious efforts to negotiate and has opted for legal action instead.”

    ASML is convinced that a negotiated outcome would have been preferable for the industry, which thrives on innovation and collaboration. Wennink: “Nikon’s litigation is unfounded, unnecessary and creates uncertainty for the semiconductor industry. This sort of unnecessary patent litigation distracts from what is truly important: driving technology forward for the benefit of chip makers. We should compete in the marketplace and not in court.”

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    Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.