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Veeco Instruments Inc. (Nasdaq: VECO), today announced that the European Patent Office in Munich, Germany has ruled in its favor and has dismissed the opposition filed by Asylum Research Inc. against Veeco's European Patent No. 839,312 (the '312 patent). This patent relates to the use of an atomic force microscope (AFM) in Tapping ModeTM with phase or frequency detection to image the topography and surface characteristics of a sample. In the decision, a three-judge panel dismissed each ground of opposition asserted by Asylum and affirmed the validity of the Veeco patent in all respects.
Edward H. Braun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Veeco, commented "Europe is an important market for Veeco, representing approximately 22% of our AFM sales. This ruling validates Veeco's development of innovative and enforceable core technology related to Tapping Mode and Phase Imaging for AFM."
In addition to the recent victory over Asylum in Europe, Veeco is also pursuing a patent infringement lawsuit against Asylum in the Central District of California. In this lawsuit, Veeco alleges that the manufacture, use and sale of Asylum's MFP-3D atomic force microscope constitutes willful infringement of five Veeco patents, including the U.S. counterpart to the '312 patent. Veeco currently expects a favorable outcome. Veeco is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a permanent injunction to stop infringement. Asylum is a private company founded by former Veeco employees.
Mr. Braun added, "We are looking forward to resolution of the U.S. litigation against Asylum. We welcome fair and honest competition, but we will vigorously defend our intellectual property. Veeco has invested tens of millions of dollars to develop and/or license-in AFM technology and related intellectual property. In the interests of our employees, customers and shareholders, we must protect that investment."
Veeco is the world leader in atomic force and scanning probe microscopy, with an installed base of over 7,500 systems at university and research/nanotechnology centers worldwide. Mr. Braun added, "We continue to develop leading edge AFM and scanning probe microscope (SPM) products and innovate new AFM/SPM technology. Veeco introduced eight new AFM/SPM products in 2006, including our "5th Generation" SPM technology featuring ease-of-use and fast data capture capabilities; our BioScope II high-performance AFM for advanced bioscience research; and our Caliber "low-cost, high-value" SPM."
Further Information about Veeco's Patents Related to this Ruling
Since being developed by Veeco in the 1990s, Phase Imaging has become widely used in academic, government, and industrial research. Veeco obtained broad patent protection for PhaseImaging™ and TappingMode™ in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Tapping Mode™ is an imaging technique based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) that provides the combination of high resolution and stable imaging on a wide variety of samples. Phase Imaging is used in conjunction with TappingMode to visualize differences in material composition down to nanometer scale.
About Veeco Instruments Inc.
Veeco Instruments Inc. provides solutions for nanoscale applications in the worldwide semiconductor, data storage, HB-LED/wireless and scientific research markets. Our Metrology products are used to measure at the nanoscale and our Process Equipment tools help create nanoscale devices. Veeco’s manufacturing and engineering facilities are located in New York, New Jersey, California, Colorado, Arizona and Minnesota. Global sales and service offices are located throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Asia Pacific. Additional information on Veeco can be found at http://www.veeco.com/ .
To the extent that this news release discusses expectations about market condition, market acceptance and future sales of Veeco’s products, Veeco’s future financial performance, future disclosures, the outcome of pending litigation, or otherwise makes statements about the future, such statements are forward-looking and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made. These factors include the challenges of continuing weakness in end market conditions and the cyclical nature of the semiconductor, data storage, HB-LED wireless and scientific research markets, risks associated with integrating acquired businesses and the acceptance of new products by individual customers and by the marketplace and other factors discussed in the Business Description and Management’s Discussion and Analysis sections of Veeco’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. Veeco does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances after the date of such statements.
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Veeco Instruments Inc.
Debra Wasser, 516-677-0200 x1472
SVP, Investor Relations & Corp. Communications
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