Sony sued in digicam patent clash

On Monday Sony was sued over its PDAs and digicams by Ampex. Ampex accuses Sony of violating its patents over the storage and retrieval of digital images. A few months ago (May 2004) Ampex sued Sanyo accusing them of similar patent infringements.

Sony yesterday found itself the subject not only a patent infringement lawsuit but a request that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ban the import of its PDAs and digital cameras. The lawsuit and import ban request come from technology development and licensing company Ampex. It claims Sony's PDAs and digicams violate patents it holds for the storage and retrieval of digital images. Yes, that does cover rather a lot of devices out there in the market, and in May 2004 Ampex began legal action against Sanyo, alleging similar patent infringement.

Ampex claims to have pursued licensing negotiations with Sony and "other major manufacturers of digital still cameras" to reach an agreement on "commercially acceptable running royalties on future shipments as well as payment of royalties on shipments for prior periods". Talks presumably broke down in Sony's case, hence the lawsuit, which also seeks unspecified damages. Both the Sony and Sanyo suits appear to be intended to set an example for other companies to see. Ampex threatens: "[We] may seek to enforce its patents by instituting additional litigation against other manufacturers if licensing agreements are not completed in the near future."

News source: The Register

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