Synopsys Prevails in Chip Patent Case


An Orrick IP team secured a victory on behalf of Synopsys in a patent infringement case before Judge Grewal in the Northern District of California. The plaintiff, Dynetix Design Solutions, Inc., sought $117 million in damages from Synopsys for its alleged infringement through the sale and use of Synopsys's flagship simulation product called VCS.

Throughout the litigation, Orrick secured numerous key rulings from the Court, including a favorable claim construction order and partial summary judgment of noninfringement. The favorable rulings culminated with the grant of several of Synopsys's Daubert motions and motions in limine one week before the start of trial. In light of the rulings, Dynetix stipulated to the entry of final judgment against it. 

Notably, as reported by the American Lawyer, Judge Grewal excluded the entire report of the plaintiff's damages expert. The expert violated several tenets of Federal Circuit law on damages, including the prohibition against using a general rule of thumb in a reasonable royalty calculation. Whereas the Federal Circuit previously struck the use of a 25 percent rule of thumb in Uniloc, the plaintiff's expert settled upon an even more egregious 50 percent rule of thumb as his royalty rate starting point. As Judge Grewal noted, "[E]very once in a great while, a Daubert challenge to a patent damages expert is justified. This case presents such an instance."

Along with the exclusion of the damages expert, the Court also excluded all of the plaintiff's infringement theories under the doctrine of equivalents and ordered that, because of the plaintiff's failure to comply with the patent-marking requirement, damages were limited to the filing date of the complaint. The Court's pretrial orders ultimately left Dynetix with no available remedies even if it proceeded to trial. 

On September 16, Judge Grewal entered final judgment against Dynetix. Dynetix filed its Notice of Appeal to the Federal Circuit on September 23.

The Orrick team includes IP partners Chris Ottenweller and Neel Chatterjee, IP associates Benjamin Hofileña, Andrew Ong and Jason Yu, and paralegals Patti Johnsen and Amy Dalton.