Avanti Corporation

Avanti Corporation

Avanti Corporation

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Description:
Avanti Corporation (the 'i' in "Avanti" is upside down, so it is also often seen as Avant!) was an electronic design automation company, purchased by Synopsys in 2002. (See avanti for the meaning of the word.)

Legal issues

Avanti was a defendant in a long running legal battle with Cadence Design Systems, of which BusinessWeek said "The Avant! case is probably the most dramatic tale of white-collar crime in the history of Silicon Valley." In this case, Cadence and the district attorney claimed that Avanti was founded on stolen Cadence code, and Avanti denied it.

The case started when a Cadence engineer noticed that the Avanti code exactly reproduced a particular bug that Cadence code exhibited earlier. After finding more similarities, Cadence called the district attorney, Julius Finkelstein. Finkelstein, who was a computer science major and interested in white collar crime, got a warrant. A search revealed considerable Cadence code on Avanti computers and those of consultants it had hired.

The ensuing legal battle lasted for more than six years. Cadence would get an injunction against a particular Avanti product, and Avanti would promptly replace it with one with a new name. Cadence would claim this new product was still tainted, and the battle continued.

However, this was also a criminal case as well as a civil case, and eventually it came to trial. At this point the Avanti executives ( and six others) pled no contest to charges of trade secret theft,...
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