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Veeco Instruments settles patent issue with competitors

The Plainview company “is back to normal business operations” after resolving the intellectual property dispute, the CEO says.

Plainview-based Veeco Instruments Inc. has settled court fights over alleged patent infringement.

The company has brought an end to litigation with Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. in the Fujian High Court in China, and with SGL Carbon SE, before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, Veeco said this week.

John R. Peeler, chairman and chief executive of Veeco, said in a statement Thursday the three companies had “reached a mutually agreed settlement” of their intellectual property disputes. Veeco, which makes tools used in manufacturing light-emitting diodes and semiconductor devices, is “back to normal business operations,” he said.

Gerald Yin, chairman and chief executive of Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc., also known as AMEC, called the settlement “a good example of how competitors can resolve” intellectual property disputes.

Edwin Mok, a senior analyst with Needham & Co. LLC in Manhattan, said in a research note that the settlement with Veeco’s rival AMEC and AMEC’s supplier SGL is “a net positive” for Veeco, as the litigation had “started to impact business in China and hurt customer relationships.”

Veeco, he said, can likely expect “a modest royalty” for its intellectual property as well as lower legal bills.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Veeco filed a patent infringement lawsuit against SGL in April. In November a U.S. federal court granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting SGL from shipping certain products to AMEC using the disputed technology. Then, a month later, a Chinese court ruled Veeco must stop “importing, making, selling and offering to sell” a key product that the court said infringed on a patent held by Shanghai-based AMEC.

Veeco’s stock closed up 2.4 percent at $15.10 in Nasdaq trading Friday. Its share price has fallen by about 40 percent in the last year.

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