• Staff report


Nikon Corp. said Wednesday it has agreed to a settlement with ASML Holding NV of the Netherlands over patent disputes, with ASML paying Nikon $87 million.

Nikon and ASML, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 suppliers of integrated-circuit steppers respectively, had been fighting over the equipment patents in courts in Japan, the United States, South Korea and Taiwan, according to Nikon officials.

Steppers are used in the semiconductor-making process to burn circuit patterns on silicon wafers.

In the settlement, which will be signed in November, the two sides will also cross license their patents, allowing them to use the other’s patents.

The agreement also involves Germany’s Carl Zeiss SMT AG, which will pay Nikon $58 million. The firm supplies optical components for ASML’s steppers.

Nikon would not specify the nature of the patents in dispute or give details of the cross-licensing, stating only that they are related to IC steppers.

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