ASML and Zeiss to Nikon: ‘We are not amused.’

ASML Holding NV (ASML) notes that it has not yet received a notification of a legal action and categorically denies any infringement allegations. ASML believes that Nikon’s claim is without merit. “We will defend ourselves vigorously against the allegations and we will consider all means at our disposal”, a press release reads.

Peter Wennink, ASML President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Nikon’s litigation is unfounded, unnecessary and creates uncertainty for the semiconductor industry. Over the past years, ASML has made repeated attempts to negotiate an extension of its cross-license agreement with Nikon. We are disappointed that Nikon did not make any serious efforts to negotiate and has opted for legal action instead. We continue to believe that a negotiated outcome would have been preferable for the industry, which thrives on innovation and collaboration. This sort of unnecessary patent litigation distracts from what is truly important: driving technology forward for the benefit of chip makers. We should compete in the marketplace and not in court.”

ASML and Nikon in 2004 concluded a patent cross-license agreement. Some patents were perpetually licensed; for others, the license period ended on 31 December 2009. A transitional period, during which the parties had agreed not to bring suit, ended on 31 December 2014.

Zeiss categorically denies any infringement allegations. Zeiss offered Nikon to continue the cross license agreement which expired at the end of 2014 and which granted the mutual use of patents. Zeiss “is disappointed that Nikon did not make any serious efforts to negotiate and has opted for legal actions instead”, a press release states.

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