Patent Fight Won by Austin Startup

Patent Fight Won by Austin Startup

03/5/2011

The tiny Austin-based Tiny Xitronix Corp. stated that its operation is back in gear after winning this week a 28-month legal battle in an Austin federal court.

Xitronix Corp, a 4-year-old startup that develops advanced measurement systems for semiconductor makers, won a judgment that rendered invalid the patent claims made against it by the KLA-Tencor Corp, a chip equipment maker based in Milpitas, California.

The lawsuit which was filed in 2008 caused a halt to the operations of the tiny Austin Company while it fought the legal challenge.

Xitronix Corp CEO Judd Chism said, “They stopped us from commercializing our product, so we focused on clearing the title to it.”

The system that the company has developed enabled rapid measurement of the silicon wafer being processed by a chipmaker.

The technology the company used is called photo-modulated reflectance, which involves using two lasers focused on the silicon wafer surface to measure the electronic properties of the circuitry of the chip being manufactured.

Xitronix already has already been issued three US patents with a fourth currently pending.

The legal case stemmed from the complaint of KLA-Tencor, which claimed that it owns prior patent rights to the technology developed by Xitronix.

The jury in the US District Court in Austin invalidated the patent claim of KLA-Tencor and ruled that Xitronix did not infringe.

Chism said that their victory gave their company the needed clear legal authority to begin making and selling the innovative system.

The Xitronix CEO recalled that they had potential customers in the past who showed keen interest in their system. He said, “We are going to go back to all of them and pursue orders to build the tool. We think we will be able to have it on line and ship it to customers within six months.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com