A Morrison & Foerster trial team on March 30 won a summary judgment of invalidity in New York federal court, beating back Anvik Corporation's patent infringement claims against Nikon. The ruling scuttled the trial of the case, which was scheduled to start on May 7. Veteran MoFo litigators Jack Londen and Harold McElhinny, along with Matthew D'Amore, were slated to try the case.
Anvik brought suit against Nikon in 2005, alleging that Nikon's manufacture of lithography machines, used in the fabrication of liquid crystal displays, induced the infringement of Anvik's patents. Anvik claimed that even though Nikon does not make LCDs itself, and makes and sells its lithography machines in Asia, its customers use them as part of the LCD fabrication process to make LCD panels that are then imported into the U.S. As there are only two makers of lithography machines in the world, Anvik argued that more than half the LCD panels imported into the U.S. (from smartphone-sized screens to 80-inch televisions) were traceable to the alleged infringement.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected Anvik's claims. Judge Hellerstein's summary judgment invalidated the patents at issue, ruling that their inventor failed to disclose the best mode of using his patents, as was required by the Patent Code.
Anvik's claims were subject to three other pending Nikon motions for summary judgment showing that Nikon did not infringe Anvik's patents. Nikon also had a pending motion to exclude an Anvik witness's highly inflated purported damages amount because it was legally and factually unsupported. Since the entire case was dismissed for invalidity of the patents, there was no occasion for the court to rule on those pending motions.