Could lead to patent lawsuits
Lam Research has sent a letter to South Korean fab equipment maker PSK through a local law firm, claiming they infringed its patents.
The US fab equipment giant set the latter via Kim & Chang, claiming that its South Korean counterpart infringed on its patents related to bevel etcher.
The move can lead to a prolonged patent lawsuit between the companies.
The equipment is used to remove metal and non-metal films on the wafer’s bevel.
They are in high demand from 300mm wafers and advanced microfabrications and is needed to improve yield rate.
South Korean firm Sossl had technologies related to bevel etchers. The company was later acquired by Charm Engineering, but it sold the business unit to Lam Research in 2011.
Lam Research had been an effective monopoly when it comes to bevel etchers since then but PSK has recently developed its own bevel etchers.
The global market for bevel etchers is thought to be worth around 300 billion won, people familiar with the matter said.
South Korean analysts have expected to PSK to take a significant market share of up to 30% from supplying the equipment to new customers.
Since receiving the latter, PSK has been discussing how to react to Lam Research’s move, the people said.
The company will need to develop a workaround technology or take the issue to court, they said.
Besides bevel etchers, PSK has been focusing on supplying photoresist strippers and dry cleaners.
It had already supplied its bevel etchers to SK Hynix, while the equipment were being tested by Samsung.