Friday, October 22, 2004

Magma answers, counterclaims in Synopsys patent suit

from Businesswire: Magma Design Automation Inc., a provider of chip design solutions, announced on Oct. 21, 2004 it has filed an answer and counterclaims in United States District Court for the Northern District of California in response to a lawsuit filed by Synopsys Inc. against Magma for allegedly infringing three patents related to electronic design automation ("EDA") technology. In the filing of October 21, 2004, Magma refutes all allegations that it is infringing a Synopsys patent. Magma also affirms its full ownership of two other patents granted to it by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, patents to which Synopsys now claims rights.

Key points in the "Preliminary Statement" of Magma's answer to the Synopsys lawsuit (pages 1-4 of the court filing) include:

-- Synopsys' claim that Magma infringes U.S. Patent No. 6,378,114 ('114) is without merit because Magma's technology is fundamentally different from the invention disclosed in that patent. [Note: this is an assertion of noninfringement.]

-- Magma has full ownership of the two other patents at issue, U.S. Patent No. 6,453,446 ('446) and U.S. Patent No. 6,725,438 ('438), because the inventions disclosed in those patents were developed at Magma. Thus, Synopsys has no right to assert these patents.

-- Synopsys has no standing to bring any infringement action under the '114 Patent because IBM is a joint owner of that patent pursuant to a joint development project with Synopsys. Magma, moreover, holds a license to this patent under a license agreement with IBM. [Note: each assignee of a patent does have a right to license complete patent rights in the absence of an agreement to the contrary.]

-- Even if Synopsys could show that the '446 and '438 patents are not owned entirely by Magma, those patents would also be jointly owned with IBM, and thus Synopsys has no standing to sue Magma for infringement. If owned by Synopsys and IBM, these patents would also be licensed to Magma pursuant to Magma's license agreement with IBM.

-- Synopsys is engaging in efforts to spread false and misleading statements about Magma and its products.

In its filing today, Magma seeks, among other things, dismissal with prejudice of Synopsys' complaint, reaffirmation of Magma's ownership interest in the '446 and '438 Patents and an order enjoining Synopsys' unfair business practices.

The filing is available to the public from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco, Case No. C04-03923.


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