SAN JOSE, Calif. Nassda and Synopsys will not be going to trial in their high profile trade secret theft case in January after Nassda announced Wednesday (Nov. 3) that the case has been delayed.
Nassda said on Oct. 28 that the Santa Clara County superior court issued an order vacating the January 2005 trial date, delaying proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal Nassda filed in an attempt to overturn damaging sanction orders made in December of 2002
and in June by a discovery referee overseeing the case.
Among other things, the sanction orders essentially reverse the burden of proof for Nassda and certain ex-Synopsys employees turned Nassda cofounders so that the now have to prove they are innocent of trade secret theft.
Nassda said that in early August Nassda filed a petition in the California Court of Appeals here seeking to overturn the orders.
Nassda said "this request by the Court of Appeal does not provide any assurance that the Court of Appeal will grant the petition or hear the case on its merits and reverse the discovery referee's orders. The briefing the Court of Appeal requested is expected to be filed by mid-December."
The Nassda appeal is hampered because both Synopsys and Nassda before the case began agreed to abide by the findings of the discovery referee.
Nassda did score a minor victory regarding the patent infringement aspect of the suit. According to Nassda, in August 2004, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a final rejection of all the claims in the re-examination proceedings relating to Synopsys' U.S. Patent No. 5,878,053 entitled "Hierarchical Power Network Simulation and Analysis Tool For Reliability Testing of Deep Submicron IC Designs" (the "'053 patent").
Nassda said Synopsys has appealed the final rejection to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.
Synopsys had alleged that Nassda's products infringed the '053 patent. As previously reported, the patent infringement litigation filed by Synopsys against Nassda with the United States District Court of the Northern District of California has been stayed pending the final outcome of the re-examination of the '053 patent.
Nassda said, with respect to the litigation against Nassda filed by Synopsys relating to Synopsys U.S. Patent No. 6,249,898 entitled "Methods and Systems for Reliability Analysis of CMOS VLSI Circuits Based on Stage Partitioning and Node Activities" (the "898 Patent") in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, there has been no material developments and trial is still set for April 2005.
A new trial date for the trade secret theft suit is not likely to be set until all appellate proceedings related to the writ have been completed, Nassda said.
"There have been many preliminary rulings in this case and we expect many more to come," said Dr. Sang Wang, CEO of Nassda in a release issued by the company. "Some of the rulings are favorable to us and others are not. We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has requested briefing on our writ but we cannot assure our investors that the Court of Appeal's review of our writ will have a favorable outcome for us. We are also extremely pleased that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has disallowed the '053 patent, and, unless Synopsys prevails on its appeal, we anticipate that the case will be dismissed. We intend to continue to defend ourselves vigorously in all of these cases."