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Morrison & Foerster attorneys may be able to catch up on their rest after putting to bed a settlement hatched across three continents. Firm lawyers negotiated the terms of a recent $145 million settlement on behalf of Japanese client Nikon Corp. in a dispute with Dutch competitor ASML Holding N.V. over patent licensing of photolithography technology, used to produce semiconductors. Also involved was ASML’s German supplier, Carl Zeiss SMT. “There’s been a lot of long hours,” said MoFo business partner Robert Townsend. “Because of the time zones, we worked 24/7.” He credits San Francisco litigation partners Harold McElhinny and Jack Londen, who took the lead on the case from the moment Nikon first brought in MoFo back in early 2003. “Harold did a fabulous job of winning the client’s confidence,” Townsend said. McElhinny was traveling and unavailable for comment. The settlement — reported to be one of the largest in patent litigation — pays Nikon $100 million this year and $45 million over the next three years. “That’s a lot of money for R&D or to pay down debt,” Townsend said. The deal cross-licenses all three companies worldwide to use each other’s patents dealing with photolithography, according to Townsend. The settlement also resolves years of fighting and litigation in California, Japan and Korea between two of the only companies making this equipment, according to MoFo litigation partner Michael Carlson. Canon Inc., a third maker of photolithography technology, was not involved in the dispute. The litigation started when Nikon filed an International Trade Commission proceeding against ASML in December 2001, according to Carlson. The outcome was not favorable to Nikon, which appealed in the Federal Circuit. That appeal has since been dismissed. MoFo’s Nikon representation was directed by McElhinny, Londen and Carlson. They were joined by business partners Townsend and John Hou. Other participating attorneys from the firm included litigation partners Alison Tucher from the San Francisco office, Michael Vella from San Diego, Emily Evans in Palo Alto, John Corrado, Peter Davis and Scott Doyle from Northern Virginia and Peter Stern in Tokyo. Other American firms assisting Nikon over the years of this dispute included Miller & Chevalier; Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner and Oliff & Berridge.

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