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United States District Court for the Northern District of California
September 5, 2002, Decided ; September 5, 2002, Filed
No. C 01-01391 WHA
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OF INFRINGEMENT
In this patent action, plaintiff moves for summary judgment of infringement. This order GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the motion.
Plaintiff Semitool, Inc., asserts three patents in this infringement action. The first is United States Patent No. 5,562,113, entitled "Centrifugal Wafer Carrier Cleaning Apparatus." The second is United States Patent No. 5,738,128, also entitled "Centrifugal Wafer Carrier Cleaning Apparatus." The '128 patent is a continuation [*2] of the application for the '113 patent. The last patent in suit is United States Patent No. 5,972,127, entitled "Methods for Centrifugally Cleaning Wafer Carriers." The '127 patent is a division of the application for the '128 patent. As such, the '113 patent is the parent patent. 1
The technology relates to cleaning and drying carriers used to hold semiconductor wafers, substrates and similar articles manufactured by the semiconductor industry. As set forth in the specifications, the problem addressed was the need for extremely clean processing in the manufacture of semiconductor wafers and similar articles. 2 Even minute contaminants injected at any point during the multiple processing steps could cause (and still can cause) performance defects in the finished product. Accordingly, it was necessary to maintain a high level of cleanliness during all or nearly all stages of production. [*3] 3
To maintain the required level of cleanliness, semiconductor manufacturers washed and dried the carriers in cleaning machines. One type of carrier-cleaning machine [*4] was a conveyor system; another type, of interest here, was a centrifugal system. The application of centrifugal force through a rotor during the washing and drying of carriers resulted in a machine that occupied less floor space than a conveyor-belt system where carriers were washed and dried as the belt passed through different stages. In addition, the use of centrifugal force provided additional washing and drying ability. The claimed inventions sought to ease the difficulty of cleaning carriers with less expense than before.
Defendant Dynamic Micro Systems Semiconductor Equipment GmbH is Semitool's competitor in supplying carrier-cleaning machines to semiconductor manufacturers. Dynamic Micro is headquartered at Radolfzell in the Federal Republic of Germany. It manufactures and sells the centrifugal carrier-cleaning device known as the Model 300. 4 [*5] In addition, it manufactures and sells the centrifugal reticle cassette-cleaning device known as the Model 310. Both devices are accused of infringement. Semitool represents that the Model 310 is "identical" to the Model 300 in all respects relevant herein. 5
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23050 *
SEMITOOL, INC., a Montana corporation, Plaintiff, v. DYNAMIC MICRO SYSTEMS SEMICONDUCTOR EQUIPMENT GMBH, a German corporation, Defendant.
Subsequent History: Motion denied by, Summary judgment granted by, Request denied by Semitool, Inc. v. Dynamic Micro Sys. Semiconductor Equip. GmbH, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4889 (N.D. Cal., Feb. 14, 2005)
Disposition: [*1] Plaintiff motion for summary judgment of infringement GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
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