Fish Wins Summary Judgment for Cadence Design Systems

November 8, 2007

On November 8th 2007, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted summary judgment to Fish client Cadence Design in the case of Cadence versus Narpat Bhandari and Vanguard System, Inc. At issue in the case is ownership of a patent related to electronic design automation (“EDA”) used in the design, emulation and fabrication of integrated circuits. EDA technology is critical to the semiconductor-based Silicon Valley economy.

The memorandum and order by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel granted the Fish client’s summary judgment on the issue of patent ownership and dismissed defendants’ counterclaims. The court found that the patent in question, for a system originally conceived of by an employee of Silicon Valley based LSI Logic, Inc. (not a party to the action), was in fact the property of LSI Logic and had been properly licensed to the plaintiffs in this matter. The court analyzed the inventor’s Invention Agreement with LSI in the context of California Labor Code section 2870 and agreed with Fish & Richardson’s arguments with regard to the scope of the subject matter assigned to LSI under the Invention Agreement. The court found specifically that “the scope of the Invention Agreement is coextensive with the scope of section 2870 [of the California Labor Code] – the Agreement assigns to LSI all inventions that section 2870 does not specifically prohibit.”

By granting the motion establishing ownership of the patent in question and dismissing defendants’ counterclaims, the decision substantively ends the case on the merits in favor of Cadence and its co-parties. The Court has set a status conference to determine if any additional proceedings are necessary before entering final judgment.