FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Advanced Energy Industries Inc. today promised to appeal a U.S. jury's verdict awarding $4.2 million in damages to MKS Instruments Inc. in a patent lawsuit against the Colorado-based company.
On Monday, MKS Instruments in Andover, Mass., announced it had won the damages from a federal court jury in Delaware, which found Advanced Energy in violation of a U.S. patent for devices that dissociate gases in chip-processing applications. MKS Instruments had acquired the patented technology when it purchased Applied Science Technology Inc. (ASTeX) in 2001.
"We are disappointed by the court's ruling in this case, as we believe the weight of evidence was in our favor on both technical and legal grounds," said Doug Schatz, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Advanced Energy. "In a pre-trial ruling interpreting the patent claims, the judge considerably narrowed the breadth of the patent, and we have the technology and capability necessary to create a new design that will allow us to continue selling products into this marketplace."
Advanced Energy said products involved in the case are reactive gas generators, which are used in the fabrication of semiconductors and flat panel displays. This business division represented less than 5% of Advanced Energy's consolidated sales since those products were introduced in late 2000 and approximately 3% of the company's consolidated sales in the first quarter of 2002, according to the Fort Collins-based systems supplier.
"This ruling impacts a very small part of our business currently," Schatz said. "We are an acknowledged leader in new product technology and innovation, and we will continue to introduce new products that are not affected by this patent to maintain our leadership and continue to benefit from this growing market segment."