September 6, 2006 – Nova Measuring Instruments, Rehovoth, Israel, is soliciting bids from approximately 100 companies to license six of its patents relating to use of a lithography tool with integrated metrology, and will even accept bids for outright ownership of the technology.
The company says it will use an auction model to set a market price for the licenses (including counterpart Israeli patents, pending US continuations, and European and Japanese applications), which it says covers only a small portion of its portfolio. Among the patents being auctioned: four relating to a lithography track with integrated optical measurement capability, used with overlay registration, critical dimensions, and macrodefect inspection; and two patents from its advanced process control group, related to methods for photolithographic processing involving making a spectrophotometric measurement and using it to influence the processing time, focus or exposure of a processing tool.
“We believe this auction will allow us to capitalize on favorable industry trends and unlock the true value of our intellectual property assets,” stated Gabi Seligsohn, president and CEO of Nova, adding that the auction will help avoid litigation of potential infringements in the future by establishing the value of the assets and monetizing them.
Nova is accepting bids for either a license for a particular model of semiconductor processing equipment (including customer rights to use), or a license to practice the patents at a fabrication facility. The company says it may select one or more offers, or none at all, with successful bidders notified by Feb. 15, 2007. A full list of the companies that have been invited to participate in the auction, including leading-edge IC manufacturers, semiconductor equipment manufacturers, and metrology companies, is available on the Hoffman & Zur Web site.
“By allowing the market rather than the courts to value patents, intellectual property worth many millions of dollars can be monetized in a more efficient, less contentious manner – clearly a benefit to the industry,” stated Eran Zur, partner at law firm Hoffman & Zur retained to handle the process.