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The U.S. attorney’s office charged a Silicon Valley high-tech executive and his brother with 19 counts of conspiracy, perjury and obstruction of justice Monday for allegedly falsifying evidence in high-stakes patent litigation. Amr Mohsen, 55, is the founder, chairman and CEO of Aptix Corp., a San Jose company that makes hardware and software for designing computer chips. He and his brother, Dr. Aly Mohsen, 50, are charged with creating phony evidence to bolster the company’s case against Quickturn Design Systems, a competitor Aptix accused of violating its patent. The two-year investigation began not long after U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued a strongly worded decision throwing out the suit by Aptix and one of its licensees, Meta Systems Inc. Alsup said a fraud had been perpetrated on the court based on a notebook Aptix submitted in an attempt to establish an earlier conception date for its patent. The litigation was hotly contested. Aptix was represented by Howrey Simon Arnold & White, while Quickturn, a subsidiary of Cadence Design Systems, was represented by now-defunct Lyon & Lyon. Alsup based his decision on forensic comparisons of notebooks provided by Mohsen for the patent litigation with notebooks provided during discovery by Skjerven, Morrill, MacPherson, Franklin & Friel, the firm which escorted the hardware�emulation technology in question through the patent process. Smith McKeithen , general counsel for Cadence, said the two waves of discovery produced copies of a key engineering notebook that should have been exactly the same. It wasn’t. “We brought it to the attention of the attorneys for the other parties and requested that the litigation be dropped. They wouldn’t do it,” McKeithen said. McKeithen gave most of the credit for the investigation to Jeffrey Miller, now a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe who could not be reached for comment. Two lawyers who worked the case for Howrey Simon could not be reached either. John Williams, Mohsen’s San Jose-based lawyer, said he could not comment extensively because he’d just read the indictment. “I do know that the forensic issues were hotly contested in [the patent litigation],” Williams said. Alsup’s findings were upheld by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in 2001, saying there was ample evidence that a fraud had been committed. But it invalidated a portion of the ruling rendering the patent in question unenforceable. The perjury charges relate to testimony regarding the notebook and whether it was actually stolen while the case was pending, as Mohsen claimed. Portions of it were mysteriously mailed back to Mohsen in 2000. The sender identified himself only as “F.L.,” but the U.S. attorney’s office is alleging that the theft — which occurred the day before the notebook was to be turned over to a forensic examiner to test the ink — never really occurred. Perjury charges are rare and notoriously difficult to prosecute. Another unusual aspect of the case is Mohsen’s motive — he is accused of falsifying evidence to support a patent that he already owned. Prosecuting the case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Harris.

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