Asylum Research, a Santa Barbara, Calif., manufacturer of atomic force microscopes (AFMs), said it will appeal a decision rejecting its opposition of a Veeco Instruments Inc. European patent. The European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, Germany, last month ruled in favor of Veeco Instruments Inc. and dismissed the opposition filed by Asylum Research Inc. against Veeco's Patent No. 839,312 (the '312 patent), involving the use of an AFM in tapping mode with phase or frequency detection to image the topography and surface characteristics of a sample. The EPO does not consider infringement issues. Veeco is also pursuing a patent infringement lawsuit against Asylum in California alleging that the manufacture, use and sale of Asylum's MFP-3D atomic force microscope constitutes infringement of five Veeco patents, including the US counterpart to the '312 patent. Veeco, which is based in Woodbury, N.Y., is seeking unspecified monetary damages and an injunction. Asylum is a private company founded by former Veeco employees. Asylum filed its opposition in May 2004 alleging that the patent is invalid.