April 13, 2007 – Nanometrics Inc. and Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd. have agreed to settle three patent suits, dismissing without prejudice all pending patent litigation between the two sides and agreeing not to sue again for any patent for one year.
The settlement will terminate three lawsuits pending in US District Court in northern California, which started in 2005 with a filing from Nova against Nanometrics over alleged use of patented apparatus for optical inspection of wafers during polishing — that suit was slated to start trial on May 29. A second suit from Nano against Nova was initiated in March 2006, over technology in its UV reflectometry and optical critical dimension tools. A third suit filed in Oct. 2006, also by Nano against Nova, concerned alleged infringement of patents relating to optical critical dimension technology (“scatterometry”).
In separate statements, execs from both sides — Bruce Rhine, president and CEO of Nanometrics, and Gabi Seligsohn, president and CEO of Nova — used nearly identical language to say that they prefer to focus on competing in the marketplace rather than the courtroom. Though expressing confidence in each company’s litigious positions, the execs said they ultimately decided that settling was the better route to reduce expenses.