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MathWorks v. National Instruments Patent Case

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  1. MathWorks v.National Instruments Patent Case UC Berkeley CET Patent Engineering -IEOR 190G 02-09-2009 Spring 2009 Samuel Choi

  2. Background • In 1990’s, there were 2 simulation languages available. • One was Mathworks’ Matlab and Simulink and the other was MatrixX • MatrixX supported most of the simulation software to Department of Defense (DOD) • Mathworks bought a company developed MatrixX • DOD teamed up with National Instrument and sued Matworks for Anti-trust thinking that it would be monopoly and DOD might not get MatrixX support if Mathworks owns MatrixX. • Mathworks lost. • National Instrument owns MatrixX, and along with it, some patents.

  3. About The MathWorks • Developer of technical computing software • MATLAB and Simulink.

  4. About National Instruments • Virtual instrumentation • For productivity and lowers costs for customers • easy-to-integrate software • LabVIEW • graphical development environment, and modular hardware

  5. NI LabVIEW

  6. National Instruments (NI) sued • For infringement of its patented method of creating data flow diagrams. • The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas entered a judgment in the patent suit brought by National Instruments (NI) against The MathWorks.

  7. January 2003 Federal Circuit: National Instruments v.s. MathWorks

  8. Decision Affirms • Decision Affirms Jury Verdict in Favor of NI Finding Infringement by Simulink and Related Products • MathWorks knew about the patent since they once owned it when they bought MatrixX. • MathWorks did not argued to fight back. • U.S. Patent Nos. • 4,901,221 • 4,914,568 • 5,301,336 • A fourth patent, No. 5,291,587, was found valid but not infringed.

  9. Decision Affirms • Relate to NI LabVIEW software, which contains major innovations in programming design tools. • The jury also awarded National Instruments $3.5 million damages • Forbid the sale of MathWorks Simulink

  10. NI takes control • 11/19/2003 • new LabVIEW Math Interface Toolkit • adds the LabVIEW user interface to the Simulink environment. • to instrument and verify their control models. The toolkit gives The MathWorks, Inc. customers a licensed manner to control and view Simulink data under these National Instruments patents

  11. MathWorks listens • Oct. 14, 2004 • MathWorks, Inc. is prohibited from manufacturing and shipping of previous Simulink(R). • September 2004 • Modified Simulink(R) then initiated litigation to clear possible infringement by the modified version • service pack (R14SP1)

  12. Patent infringement trial • begins on new version of Simulink • January 5, 2005 • Court concluded that The MathWorks' modified version of Simulink(R) presents substantial issues with respect to infringement that should be decided by trial.