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eTool Announces Texas Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against National Semiconductor

May 13, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

eTool Development, Inc. and eTool Patent Holdings Corp. announced that they have filed an action for patent infringement against National Semiconductor Corp. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The complaint charges that National has directly and indirectly infringed, and is directly and indirectly infringing, U.S. patent 7,113, 919. The 919 patent is directed to a System and Method for Configuring Products Over a Communications Network. The complaint alleges that National’s WEBENCH® on-line design tools infringe the 919 patent.

The companies claim that National’s WEBENCH on-line tools are heavily relied upon by National to promote the use and sale of National’s portfolio of power management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers, interface products and data conversion solutions. It is claimed that the WEBENCH tools are therefore an important contributing factor to the generation of a very large percentage of National’s total revenues, which were reported as $1.93 billion for fiscal 2007. The companies also state that National’s management has acknowledged that the WEBENCH tools are an important contributor to National’s industry-leading gross margin, which is said to now exceed 60%.

eTool is represented by Haines & Associates of Philadelphia; Sayles Werbner, PC, of Dallas; and Woodcock Washburn, LLP, of Philadelphia.

"The damages that eTool seeks are considerable and clearly very material to National," said Sayles Werbner’s Richard Sayles. "The full extent of the eTool’s damages will become apparent during discovery. However, our preliminary investigation reveals they are accruing at a rate in excess of $100 million per year."