Jury denies Mentor claims

A San Francisco federal court jury unanimously rejected allegations by Mentor Graphics that Quickturn Design Systems, a Cadence company, had misappropriated trade secrets and infringed Mentor patents. The jurors ruled that all Mentor patent claims asserted in the case are invalid.

The eight-person jury deliberated nine days before rendering its unanimous verdict in the US Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, clearing Cadence of all wrongdoing. The trial, which began on January 6, focused on technology used in Quickturn’s Mercury and MercuryPlus emulation systems.

‘We are gratified, but not surprised, that our technology, scientists and product-development process have been vindicated,’ said Cadence president and CEO Ray Bingham.

Mentor originally accused Quickturn and Cadence of infringing six patents, but US District Court Judge Susan Illston declared three of the patents invalid in pre-trial rulings and dismissed all allegations concerning those three patents. The court also earlier dismissed a breach of confidence claim brought by Mentor against Cadence.

‘We are disappointed with the court and the jury’s findings,’ said Dean Freed, general counsel at Mentor Graphics. ‘In particular, we respectfully disagree with the court’s finding of invalidity on the first three patents as well as the jury’s verdict on the latter three patents which we think resulted from claim constructions that we will challenge on appeal. We will review our options in this case and consider our next steps.’