CFMT, Inc. v. YieldUp International Corp.

349 F.3d. 1333 (2003)

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CFMT, Inc. v. YieldUp International Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
349 F.3d. 1333 (2003)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

CFMT, Inc. (plaintiff) invented the Full Flow machine, a wet, closed-system cleaning machine for semiconductor wafers. CFMT obtained two patents, the ‘532 patent and the ‘123 patent, for the original Full Flow machine. In testing, the original Full Flow machine successfully removed grease pencil marks from semiconductor wafers. However, when CFMT installed a Full Flow machine for Texas Instruments, the cleaned wafers did not meet Texas Instruments’ corporate cleanliness standards. CFMT then conducted additional experiments and made improvements to the Full Flow machine’s cleaning system to meet Texas Instruments’ specific standards. CFMT obtained the ‘761 patent for the improvements made to the Full Flow machine. After discovering suspected infringement, CFMT sued YieldUp International Corporation (YieldUp) (defendant), alleging that YieldUp infringed on the ‘532 patent and the ‘123 patent. YieldUp countered and moved for summary judgment, arguing that CFMT’s patents were invalid for nonenablement because the original Full Flow machine did not adequately clean semiconductor wafers and needed the improvements embodied in the ‘761 patent to meet Texas Instruments’ standards, The district court granted summary judgment to YieldUp, holding that (1) the ‘532 patent and ‘123 patent lacked utility and operability; and (2) the ‘532 patent and ‘123 patent failed the enablement requirement because the Full Flow machine failed to meet Texas Instruments’ standards until CFMT made additional improvements. CFMT appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rader, J.)

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