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Nikon Corporation v. ASML Holding N.V., ASML Netherlands B.V. and ASML Systems B.V., District Court of The Hague, 18 July 2018, Case No. ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2018:8777

This is case no. 1 of 11 patent cases between Nikon and ASML.

Lithography machines are used in the production of chips. Nikon holds EP 1 652 003 (‘EP 003) relating to a ‘Wafer table for Immersion Lithography’. As part of an ongoing worldwide patent dispute, Nikon invokes EP ‘003 against ASML. ASML successfully argues that EP 003 is not infringed as it lacks novelty.

ASML in a countersuit requested a general enforcement ban against Nikon on various grounds, amongst which competition law. As Nikon has invoked 11 patents in 11 separate patent proceedings, it was requested by both parties to deal with the enforcement ban in the current proceedings and to refer back to this decision in all other cases. The Court agreed to this approach.

The Court finds that Nikon’s patents are not ‘de facto’ standard essential patents. Nikon did not issue a FRAND declaration, nor dit it have to. As long as no new license is given, Nikon according to the Court is therefore free to enforce it’s patents against ASML.

A copy of the decision (in Dutch) can be read here.