SAN JOSE, Calif. MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. on Thursday (Dec. 29) said that a patent suit has been filed against Soitec SA over defect-free silicon wafer technology.
The suit, filed with the First Instance Court in Lyon, France, follows a seizure which MEMC conducted in accordance with French law at Soitec's facility in Bernin, France on Dec. 15. This suit pertains to the same family of patents for which MEMC recently received favorable rulings in the U.S. Court of Appeals and the European Patent Office, according to silicon wafer maker MEMC.
The technology involves defect-free silicon, dubbed Perfect Silicon. "We believe that Soitec infringes our patents that protect the use, manufacture and sale of Perfect Silicon wafers. We have filed suit following the seizure of evidence, and intend to vigorously pursue this matter using all available remedies, including past damages, royalties, lost profits and injunctions," said Nabeel Gareeb, MEMC's chief executive, in a statement.
Last month, Soitec, a maker of silicon-on-insulator wafers, said it had filed for declaratory relief in the U.S. District Court of Delaware in response to allegations of patent infringement made by a rival wafer maker MEMC (St. Peters, Mo.). Soitec (Bernin, France) said it filed the complaint, declaring that it does not infringe on any of MEMC's patents involving the production and use of so-called 'COP-free silicon' in the fabrication of SOI wafers.
"Soitec has filed a suit against us in the U.S. to try and have our related patents declared invalid, and has also threatened to do the same in Europe. Given our recent victory in the European Patent Office against another competitor regarding our Perfect Silicon patent family, we are confident that both the European and U.S. patents will be upheld in the courts," Gareeb said.
MEMC in September said that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in the company's favor, overturning a decision by a lower court relating to MEMC's patent on defect-free silicon.
According to MEMC, the court's ruling reverses a ruling by a California District Court and supports MEMC's claim that Sumco Corp. is liable for induced infringement of an MEMC patent on defect-free silicon. As a result of the Court of Appeals' decision, MEMC said, the case has been remanded back to the California District Court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion