Phicom, FormFactor each claim victory in patent ruling

September 6, 2007 – Both litigants in an ongoing patent dispute involving probe card technology say a new ruling by the Korean Supreme Court lands in their favor.

The two firms have been in litigation since early 2004, when FormFactor sued Phicom over four patents (two over probe card assembly and two for production processes); three of them were later deemed invalid.

Last summer the court upheld validity of one of FormFactor’s patents relating to MEMS-based wafer probe cards (a preliminary injunction was later denied), which was already the subject of a lawsuit in the US. The company then filed two more patent infringement suits against Phicom.

The newest ruling by the Supreme Court has upheld a previous verdict by the domestic Patent Court that ruled invalid 17 provisions of the two FormFactor Korean patents, according to Phicom. “Our technology for the production of MEMS based probe is the result of our own and independent R&D efforts and totally different from that of Form Factor,” the company said in a statement, adding that the litigation has had an impact on its ability to attract new customers particularly outside Korea.

However, the US-based litigant has a different interpretation on the newest court ruling, pointing out that while it affirms invalidation of certain patent claims of two patents, it does not address 27 claims of one of them, and 77 claims of the another. In its own statement, FormFactor also noted that the ruling does not address, “and thus leaves in place,” the patent office’s validation of the one patent still at issue.


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