PARIS – EDA vendor Mentor Graphics Corp. announced it has filed a patent infringement suit against French emulation tools vendor EVE SA before the Tokyo District Court. EVE instantly said it prevailed against Mentor’s infringement allegation.
The move follows efforts by Mentor (Wilsonville, Ore.) to prevent Paris-based EVE from selling its products in Japan.
Back in July, Mentor filed an import suspension application against EVE emulation products in Japan with the Japanese Customs Office.
The filing then requested that Japanese Customs issue a ruling that EVE emulation products infringe Mentor's intellectual property. The application also requested that, upon making such a determination, the Japanese Customs Office bar importation of EVE products into Japan.
Mentor said on Dec. 16 that the Japanese Customs office found that there was "insufficient, publically available evidence" to rule for them in their request for an import ban on EVE's emulation products.
In a statement, Tom Evans, corporate intellectual property counsel for Mentor Graphics, added: "A majority of the appointed experts did not challenge the broad scope of our patent, and further suggested that this case be examined at a civil trial."
He even quoted one expert's own words: “[in] general, cases such as this case—where the establishment of the evidence…of the undisclosed techniques on the part of the suspect accused of the infringement is required—should be tried using the procedures for the action for infringement…in accordance with the Patent Act or Code of Civil Procedure."
EVE has vigorously responded to Mentor's attack and indicated that the Japanese Customs Office rejected Mentor's application to suspend import of EVE's ZeBu products.
Indeed, EVE noted that each of the three intellectual property rights experts appointed by the Japanese Customs Office made a detailed analysis of the patent at issue and the alleged EVE ZeBu products. Experts delivered opinions that the Japanese Customs Office should not accept the application from Mentor, the company said.
This application mainly alleged the infringement of Mentor Graphics’ intellectual property by the ZeBu products utilizing the Readback feature provided by Xilinx in their FPGAs and used in all ZeBu products since EVE began shipping emulation systems.
Contacted by EE Times, Luc Burgun, EVE’s President and CEO, commented: "On our side, and after
this first victory, we are going to vigorously keep defending ourself
against Mentor Graphics. Obviously, it's just too bad to see that a
large company like Mentor Graphics is totally unable to compete with a
fast growing company like EVE without using the court system."
In a separate statement, Burgun declared: “We invite Mentor Graphics’ management to reconsider its tactics and compete with us on a level playing field, based on the merits of our respective products and the quality of our support teams. This request is shared by our customers, who have been extremely supportive during this legal battle, and the electronic design automation industry at large. Legal battles have a negative impact on any industry and the capital wasted on litigation would be better invested on innovation and growing the business.”
Going by above Mentor should have sued EVE long before because as they say the Readback feature is integral to all their products. So why did they wait until Eve didn't bite the dust and really has started showing signs of growing in to a promising emulation company.
Hmm, what is they had wanted to buy out Eve sometime back but passed the opportunity.
This story has some bizarre twists.
Mentor, 15 years ago or so bought French emulation company Meta and Quickturn (now part of Cadence), prevented them from bringing this product into the US because of patent violations. Mentor lost even after many lawsuits with strange twists including a plot by emulation company Aptix's CEO's arrest and plot to kill a judge
Later, many people left Meta to create Eve. Now Mentor is trying Quickturn's trick to use patents to prevent Eve's product from getting into Japan.