What do you do when your former CEO is implicated in a murder-for-hire plot? Hopefully, you disassociate yourself from that individual and just keep working to solve customer needs. Aptix deserves a chance to do that.
As reported earlier (see Aug. 2, page 1), Amr Mohsen, founder and former CEO of Aptix, was indicted July 27 for solicitation of arson and solicitation of murder. Mohsen was already in jail after he apparently tried to flee the country to avoid a perjury trial. According to an FBI affidavit, he tried to arrange the murder of a federal judge. Now he's facing 23 criminal counts that carry a combined maximum total of over 100 years in prison.
All this stems from a failed patent infringement lawsuit in which Aptix had nothing to gain. Mentor Graphics licensed an Aptix patent in 2000 in order to sue Quickturn Design Systems, but the suit fell apart when the patent was ruled fraudulent. Mohsen and his brother Aly were later indicted on perjury charges.
Besides bad publicity, there was a very tangible financial impact on Aptix. The company declared bankruptcy this spring because it was unable to make a court-ordered payment to Cadence Design Systems, which now owns Quickturn.
It's important to remember that this legal and financial nightmare is attributed to just one former Aptix employee-Amr Mohsen. Yes, he was founder and CEO, but he resigned his CEO position at the time of his imprisonment in April. Nobody else from Aptix is accused of any wrongdoing (Brother Aly Mohsen is a medical doctor who owns shares of Aptix, according to the U.S. Department of Justice). It's not like the Avanti criminal case, where much of the company's original management team was on trial.
There is also no legal action pending against Aptix. There's no accusation of patent infringement, source code or trade secrets theft, and no threat of an injunction against the company's products.
Some customers may be concerned about the company's financial stability. According to Aptix vice president Charlie Miller, the privately held company has completed its third quarter of profitability and is meeting its forecasts.
Hopefully, as the company reorganizes, Mohsen will no longer be the majority owner. He's out of the picture otherwise. So let the folks at Aptix do their work, and don't let the news about Mohsen affect purchasing decisions. Guilt by association is a poor way to do business.
Richard Goering is managing editor of Design Automation for EE Times.