Veeco claims win in EU AFM patent spat

January 22, 2007 – The European Patent Office in Munich, Germany, has dismissed opposition filed by Asylum Research Inc. against a patent complaint filed by Veeco Instruments Inc., the company says.

The patent relates to an atomic force microscope in “tapping mode,” with phase or frequency detection to image the topography and surface characteristics of a sample. In the decision, a three-judge panel dismissed each ground of opposition asserted by Asylum and affirmed the validity of the Veeco patent in all respects, according to Veeco.

The European market represents 22% of Veeco’s sales and is thus an important strategic market, noted Veeco chairman/CEO Ed Braun, commenting on the ruling in a statement.

Veeco is pursuing similar litigation against Asylum in California, originally filed in 2003, alleging Asylum’s MFP-3D atomic force microscope infringes five of Veeco’s patents, including this one, and seeking unspecified monetary damages and a permanent injunction. Privately held Asylum was founded in 1999 by former employees of Digital Instruments, which Veeco bought in early 1998.


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