April 14, 2006 – South Korean semiconductor-equipment vendor Integrated Process Systems Ltd. (IPS) has filed a lawsuit against Aviza Technology Inc., Scotts Valley, CA, in US District Court in Central California, alleging that Aviza used confidential information from IPS to develop a single-wafer atomic-layer deposition (ALD) system.
The complaint seeks unspecified monetary damages and injunctive relief, as well as an order rescinding a settlement and distribution agreements under a May 2004 settlement between the firms of a prior lawsuit IPS filed against ASML, relating to assets Aviza acquired in 2003. Aviza inherited a licensing deal with IPS through its acquisition of ASML’s thermal division in 2003, and extended it in limited form until the end of 2005.
Aviza and Trikon Technologies, with whom it merged last year, are working on a combined higher-throughput single-wafer ALD tool — with Aviza’s process technology chamber (including its showerhead and gas delivery system, for DRAM processing) on Trikon’s single-wafer platform — that would compete with IPS tools. Aviza sold some $14 million worth of the IPS-based single-wafer ALD tools in the nine months through June 2005, for about 11% of its total revenues.