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A combined team of lawyers from two Philadelphia law firms — Woodcock & Washburn and Dechert — knew they had a big victory on their hands in March when a federal jury in San Jose, Calif., found in favor of their client, Mattson Technology Inc., in a patent infringement suit relating to semiconductor processing machinery. But the jury never decided how much money to award Mattson because the case had been bifurcated to separate issues of damages and willfulness for a separate trial. Now the defendant in the suit, Dainippon Screen Manufacturing Co. Ltd. of Japan (DNS), has agreed to pay $40 million to cover past damages and legal expenses for five years of litigation. The global settlement also calls for DNS to pay undisclosed future royalties until the patents expire five years from now. DNS, based in Kyoto, Japan, was the world’s seventh-largest supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment last year, with revenues of $1.1 billion, according to an industry ranking from VLSI Research Inc. The litigation began in 1997 when DNS filed a declaratory judgment action against CFM Technologies of Exton, Pa., seeking a court judgment that it was not infringing on CFM’s patents. CFM was acquired in January 2001 by Mattson, which is based in Fremont, Calif. At trial in the Northern District of California before U.S. District Judge James Ware, the plaintiffs’ team was led by Woodcock partners Henrik D. Parker and Barbara Mullin and Dechert partner Fred Magaziner. Assisting at trial were Woodcock associates Richard LeBlanc and David Farsiou and Dechert associate Kelly Darr. The suit focused on two closely related semiconductor technology patents — the first covering a CFM “wet processing” apparatus and the second covering the process it employed. In an interview Wednesday, Parker explained that the manufacturing of microchips “involves hundreds of steps” and that the term “wet processing” refers to any step that involves liquids, such as immersing the silicon wafer in an acid bath. In the suit, CFM claimed that six different DNS wet-processing systems infringed upon two of its patents for drying technologies. DNS denied that its machines infringed on the patents and urged the jury to find that the patents were invalid. But the jury sided with CFM and Mattson and found that each of the DNS systems infringed on the two patents. At the time of the verdict, David J. Ferran, president of Mattson’s wet-processing division, said: “We have watched DNS take market share while using technology that we believed was covered by our patents. Drying technology is a critical element in the wet processing of semiconductor wafers.”

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