Dutch chipmaking equipment outfit ASML has agreed to buy Taiwanese peer Hermes Microvision (HMI) for about $3.1 billion.
The move will strengthen the pair’s technology offering for semiconductor manufacturers and is one of the biggest inbound acquisitions for Taiwan,.
It is the latest consolidation in a global semiconductor industry faced with an increasingly saturated smartphone market.
ASML is the world’s biggest chipmaking equipment supplier, with customers including TSMC, Intel and Samsung. HMI’s technology is used to scan and test for wafer defects in the semiconductor manufacturing process.
Both companies, which already work together, will be able to share research, development and intellectual property under one roof, analysts said, which is key as their customers migrate toward ever smaller and more advanced manufacturing processes.
ASML Chief Executive Peter Wenninck said in a video posted on the company’s website explaining the deal’s rationale. “The times of point solutions are gone. We need integrated solutions.”
ASML’s acquisition of HMI will be part-funded by about $1.69 billion of debt and all the i’s will be dotted and the t’s crossed by the fourth quarter.
The highest court in the US will finally decide on whether Steve Jobs invented the rounded rectangle and therefore his form business chum Samsung will have to pay $548 million in damages.
It will be probably the last battle in the thermo-nuclear war of the rounded rectangle as both sides have admitted that the whole thing was bloody stupid and did not result in either winning.
Samsung’s petition must first be accepted for review by the Supreme Court and there are no guarantees that will happen.
Samsung paid Apple $548.2 million fulfilling part of its liability stemming from a 2012 verdict for infringing Apple’s patents and copying the iPhone’s look.
In its petition to the high court, Samsung said it should not have had to make as much as $399 million of that payout for copying the patented designs of the iPhone’s rounded-corner front face, bezel, and gridded icons.
It said that awarding total profits from the sale of its devices with those designs, even if they relate only to a small portion of the phone, allows for “unjustified windfalls” far beyond the inventive value of the patents.
“A patented design might be the essential feature of a spoon or rug. But the same is not true of smartphones, which contain countless other features that give them remarkable functionality wholly unrelated to their design,” Samsung told the high court.
“Samsung is escalating this case because it believes that the way the laws were interpreted is not in line with modern times,” the company said in a statement.
Apple said in a statement, without the slightest shred of irony said: “We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy.”
So far Samsung has done well in limiting the damages Apple can claim. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, the nation’s top patent court, in May stripped about $382 million from the $930 million Samsung owed following the 2012 verdict. The appeals court said the
iPhone’s appearance could not be protected through trademarks.
Another trial over remaining damages relating to some of Samsung’s infringing products in the case is set for next spring.