Melexis Wins the Patent Nullity Court Case vs. austriamicrosystems

December 19, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

On December 9, 2010, the Federal Patent Court in Munich (Germany) rendered its verdict on the patent nullity case initiated by Melexis in March 2009 against the austriamicrosystems patent EP0916074. In the first-instance, the Court declared all attacked patent claims (1-3 and 5-14) as null and invalid based on the prior art submitted by Melexis. This decision can be appealed at the Federal Supreme Court (Karlsruhe).

The invalidation of all relevant claims of the austriamicrosystems patent takes away the basis for the earlier judgment in the parallel patent infringement case judged in Dusseldorf on May 10 (first-instance) and against which Melexis has lodged an appeal with the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf.

Melexis states in a 2009 press releases that it had been approached by austriamicrosystems (AMS), saying that they were seeking compensation for IP related to a patent on magnetic angle sensing they had acquired. According to Melexis, as there was prior art on the domain, the Melexis technology was developed in house, and the company said its sensor was different in its functioning and protected by its own patents, Melexis states that it saw no reason to entertain discussions on licensing with AMS.

austriamicrosystems responded by confirming that that the first-instance verdict in the patent infringement lawsuit against Melexis regarding magnetic field encoder products and European Patent EP 0 916 074 B1 remains valid. At the same time, austriamicrosystems expects to ultimately prevail against the first-instance decision by the Federal Patent Court which deems the European Patent EP 0 916 074 B1 covering magnetic field encoder products and exclusively held by austriamicrosystems not patentable.

austriamicrosystems states that it is confident to prevail in this next and final instance and to have the patent fully validated by the court. It also states that Melexis will, however, continue to carry the risk of financial damages for patent infringement being awarded to austriamicrosystems after positive decision of the appeal.