Keller and Heckman LLP Secures Complete Victory for Tokyo Electron Limited after Eight-Year Legal Battle

Date: Mar 02, 2010

Jury in Santa Clara Superior Court takes less than seven hours to return a verdict in favor of Tokyo Electron Limited following a six-week trial; Company faced $200 million in damages

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – A twelve-person jury in the Santa Clara County Superior Court has returned a verdict in favor of Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL) on multiple causes of action – including breach of contract, and lack of good faith and fair dealing – asserted against TEL by Linear Technology Corporation (Linear). The case, originally filed in 2002, is believed to be the oldest active case in Santa Clara Superior Court. Linear had been seeking roughly $200 million in damages from TEL and its co-defendant, Novellus Systems.

TEL was represented by Douglas J. Behr and Arthur S. Garrett from Washington D.C. offices.

The lawsuit began in March 2002, when Linear filed a complaint against TEL and other semiconductor equipment suppliers in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County seeking damages (including punitive damages), declaratory relief and injunctions for alleged breach of contract, violations of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, unfair competition, and breach of warranty.

At the center of the case was semiconductor-manufacturing equipment Linear purchased from TEL. Soon after, Texas Instruments (TI) filed suit against Linear, alleging that its use of the TEL equipment infringed TI patents. TI revealed that it had previously won an infringement case against another tech company that had also purchased equipment from TEL. Linear, alleging it had been denied this information at the time of its purchase, filed suit against TEL.

TEL obtained a dismissal of Linear's claims for fraud and unfair competition in October 2004. The Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District affirmed these dismissals in a published decision in June 2007.

The recently-concluded jury trial, which began on January 19, 2010, was limited to Linear's remaining claims for breach of warranty and a violation of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The jury began deliberations on the morning of February 26, 2010, and returned its verdict by about 3:15 that afternoon. The jury found that TEL had not breached its warranty to Linear, nor had it breached its covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Co-defendant Novellus, which also obtained a defense verdict, was represented at trial by Irell & Manella. Allen Ruby, of The Law Offices of Allen Ruby, represented Linear.

Keller and Heckman LLP's nationally-recognized litigation attorneys represent clients' interests before federal and state courts, and regulatory and industry sanctioned bodies. Keller and Heckman litigators often work within multi-disciplinary teams consisting of members of its expert in-house scientific staff and regulatory attorneys with specialized knowledge in the diverse practice areas of the Firm. Keller and Heckman, founded in 1962, has a broad practice in regulatory law and related litigation and business transactions. Since 1971, the firm has had an in-house scientific staff that works closely with the firm's attorneys on matters of technical complexity.

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