Camtek vs Orbotech, the Latest Developments

tweedle dee and tweedle dum

In the ongoing patent saga between Camtek and Orbotech, two Israeli manufacturers of optical imaging systems for quality control of semiconductor substrates, Camtek, represented by Adv. Adi Levit, petitioned to correct the statement of case concerning their opposition to Orbotech’s patent no. 179995 titled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INSPECTING PATTERNED DEVICES HAVING MICROSCOPIC CONDUCTORS”

Evidence has already been presented, but some of Camtek’s evidence was struck as irrelevant. This attempt to correct the statement of case was, according to Orbotech, represented by Adv. Reuven Borchowsky, an attempt to bring into discussion material that has already been ruled as irrelevant and subsequently appealed and upheld.

The case was allowed on the 30 October 2011 and the appeal was filed (as is customary to delay allowance for as long as possible), on 31 January 2012. the attempt to correct the statement of case was filed on 19 March 2013, only just over a month before a hearing due for 22 April  2013

Adv. Levit argued that the correction was required because of the public interest of maintaining the ‘purity of the register’. In other words, if Orbtech don’t deserve a patent for lack of novelty, inventive step, and / or utility, civil procedure should be waived in the interest of making sure that they don’t get one.   The issue seems to be about the angle of the azimuth being claimed but not properly supported. Orbotech disagreed with a change in direction late in the proceedings.

The arbitrator (not signed so not sure who), seems to be accusing Camtek of time-wasting shenanigans, and rejected the request, ruling that the purity of the register was not a be all and end all blanket legitimacy for everything, and hinting at inequitable behavior. She also ruled NIS 3000 of costs to the applicant.

COMMENTS

We suspect that both parties are motivated by a mixture of commercial interests and bad feelings, and the purity or otherwise of the register is not a significant consideration here. It is legitimate for the opposer’s counsel to file responses on the last day, as it is his client’s interest to stop the patent issuing for as long as possible. Additional delays, especially when not based on newly discovered evidence, is intolerable.  the ruling is a reasonable one, if a little formalistic and dry.  To be honest, I’ve lost interest in the little skirmishes and await a final ruling on the validity of the patent. On the other hand, a heavy case load could be responsible for not filing request to amend the statement of case a little earlier. We note that most Paris Convention filings seem to wait until the last day. It is not inequitable behavior, just procrastination.

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