Thursday, April 14, 2005

Synopsys bombshell declarations in patent litigation

from EDN:

Magma Design Automation has been handed what appears to be a giant setback in defense of its patent litigation dispute with Synopsys.

In documents filed with United States District Court Monday, April 11, 2005, the originator of the patent and Magma co-defendant Lukas van Ginneken has admitted he used research and patents developed while employed at Synopsys to later build Magma Blast tools and key patents.

Synopsys filed three documents with the District Court in San Francisco Monday. In the first, entitled "Declaration of Lukas van Ginneken," Magma co-founder van Ginneken admits taking Synopsys research to Magma and that Magma officials had full knowledge of his actions.

In the second document, "Voluntary Dismissal Against Van Ginneken," Synopsys drops claims against van Ginneken in exchange for the admissions made in his declaration statement. The third document, entitled "Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Against Magma," seeks a quick judgment against Magma on Synospys' "unfair competition" claim.

"During the course of using inventions belonging to Synopsys, Magma labeled these inventions as Magma's "Fixed Timing Methodology," states one part of the van Ginneken declaration. "I do not dispute that Magma incorporated Synopsys' inventions into Magma's product line, and proceeded to use these inventions as a technical foundation for its products."

Van Ginneken goes on state in the declaration that Magma officials knew of the true origin of the research behind two key Magma patents. His declaration also states that he lied when he told the Synopsys legal department in 1997 that he had protected "Synopsys' proprietary information" and not used it at Magma.

"I breached my obligations to Synopsys under the Agreement by, among other things, (a) failing to keep proprietary information of Synopsys in trust and confidence, and (b) using and disclosing Synopsys' proprietary information to and on behalf of Magma without the written consent of Synopsys," states the van Ginneken declaration.

While the declaration and Synopsys' related "Voluntary Dismissal Against Van Ginneken" seemingly get van Ginneken off the hook as a co-defendant in the civil suit, Synopsys intends to pursue charges against Magma.

"With Dr. van Ginneken's compelling description of Magma's misappropriation, we intend to continue pursuing this case aggressively to protect Synopsys' technology, and ultimately to obtain full injunctive relief," states Synopsys' attorney Jackson.

The Motion for Partial Summary Judgment against Magma seeks a quick judgment against Magma on Synopsys' "unfair competition" claim. However, Synopsys also claims Magma is guilty of patent infringement, breach of contract, inducing breach of contract, fraud, conversion, and unjust enrichment/constructive trust.

Magma issued a statement responding to the Synopsys actions.

"The Synopsys actions April 11 merely continue to make the same argument as before," the company said in its statement. "Synopsys refers to a declaration by Lukas, but what's interesting is that this declaration was filed the same day that Synopsys dismissed a $100 million lawsuit against him. This doesn't change our position that Synopsys' claims have no merit."


Blogger Techbuz said...

How do you think this lawsuit ends? Is there much precedent to expect that Synopsys can actually get a $100 million judgement? It looks like a no-brainier decision for the jury.

Lets say Synopsys does win--what next? Magma only has $30 million of cash--would they have to file bankruptcy? If they did that, who would have seniority in the bankruptcy--Synopsys or the debt holders (Magma has $150 million of debt).

12:54 PM  

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