Patent infringement trial begins on new version of Simulink

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ational Instruments has announced that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ordered an infringement trial to proceed on the latest Simulink(R) product introduced by Massachusetts-based The MathWorks, Inc. On January 5, the district court concluded that The MathWorks' modified version of Simulink(R) presents substantial issues with respect to infringement that should be decided by trial. The patents involved are three National Instruments patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 4,901,221, 4,914,568 and 5,301,336, which relate to National Instruments LabVIEW software.

The previous version of The MathWorks, Inc. Simulink(R) product was found to infringe these National Instruments patents by a jury in January 2003. After the judgment was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in September 2004, the district court ruled that The MathWorks, Inc. is prohibited from manufacturing and shipping the previous Simulink(R) version as of Oct. 14, 2004. Based on the court rulings, The MathWorks introduced a modified version of Simulink(R) and related products in September 2004 and then initiated litigation to clear possible infringement by the modified version. Last week, the district court, in denying a contempt motion, ordered an infringement trial to proceed as The MathWorks' modified version of Simulink(R) presents substantial issues with respect to infringement.

"It is National Instruments' position that the new Simulink(R) Service Pack introduced by The MathWorks, Inc. in September continues to infringe these three patents," said David Hugley, NI vice president and general counsel. "We intend to continue to protect our intellectual property by pursuing the infringement issues on Service Pack 1 in a pending lawsuit previously initiated by The MathWorks, Inc."

National Instruments continues to offer the LabVIEW Simulation Interface Toolkit,  which adds the LabVIEW user interface to the Simulink environment. With the LabVIEW Simulation Interface Toolkit, design engineers can use LabVIEW-based user interfaces 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.

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