U.S. Supreme Court Denies Lemelson Petition to Review Laches Decision

Ruling Allows Cognex to Argue That Unreasonable Delay Makes Certain Lemelson Patent Claims Invalid; Trial scheduled to begin on November 18\r\n
\r\nNATICK, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 10, 2002– Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ: CGNX – News), the world’s leading supplier of machine vision systems, announced today that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition by the Lemelson Medical, Education & Research Foundation, Limited Partnership to review a January 2002 U.S. Court of Appeals decision in favor of Cognex. The January decision gave Cognex the right to argue, at its upcoming trial against the Lemelson Partnership in Nevada, that patent claims assigned to Lemelson relating to machine vision are invalid under the doctrine of prosecution laches.“;“The doctrine of prosecution laches bars the owner of a patent from enforcing a patent claim if there was an unreasonable delay in seeking the claim from the Patent Office. Cognex contends that Lemelson’s unreasonable delay in prosecuting certain machine vision patent claims–in many cases more than 30 years after the original 1954 and 1956 applications–constitutes prosecution laches.\r\n
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\r\n\“The Lemelson Partnership has no further appeals available regarding the prosecution laches issue,\“ said Michael Steir, Cognex’s Vice President of Corporate Legal Services. \“A successful laches argument by Cognex would result in most, if not all, of the machine vision claims in Lemelson’s patents being ruled invalid. This would have a favorable impact not only on Cognex, but also on dozens of other companies around the world who are being sued by Lemelson.\“\r\n
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\r\nCognex filed suit against the Lemelson Partnership in September of 1998, seeking a declaration that certain patents that claim to cover machine vision, currently assigned to the Lemelson Partnership by the late Jerome H. Lemelson, are invalid, unenforceable, and not infringed by either Cognex or by any users of Cognex products. The Cognex lawsuit has been combined with a similar suit against the Lemelson Partnership filed subsequently by Symbol Technologies and seven other manufacturers of bar code scanning equipment.\r\n
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\r\nThe trial is scheduled to begin on November 18, 2002 in the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada. Patent infringement litigation relating to the Lemelson Partnership’s machine vision assertions against many other companies has been stayed pending the outcome of the Cognex case.\r\n
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\r\nCognex Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, and markets machine vision systems, or computers that can \“see.\“ Cognex is the world’s leader in the machine vision industry, having shipped more than 150,000 machine vision systems, representing over $1 billion in cumulative revenue, since the company’s founding in 1981. Cognex’s Modular Vision Systems Division, headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, specializes in machine vision systems which are used for automating the manufacture of a wide range of discrete items and for assuring their quality. Cognex’s Surface Inspection Systems Division, headquartered in Alameda, California, specializes in machine vision systems which are used for inspecting the surfaces of products manufactured in a continuous fashion, such as metals, paper, plastics, and nonwovens. In addition to its corporate headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, Cognex also has regional offices located throughout North America, Japan, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Visit Cognex on-line at http://www.cognex.com.\r\n
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