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The Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray Disc player could be halted by Rothschild  (Source: Sony Electronics)
Columbia University Professor Emerita claims electronics manufacturers infringe upon her patents

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) last week decided to investigate certain products that contain short-wavelength light emitting diodes and laser diodes. Such may include hand-held mobile devices, instrument panels, billboards, traffic lights, high-definition optical players and data storage devices.

Of note, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc players, which use blue-violet laser technology, are subjected to this investigation. Companies named in the investigation include Toshiba, Sony, Sharp, Samsung, Lite-On, Matsushita (Panasonic) and LG.

Mobile phone manufacturers Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola were also identified as one of the respondents in the investigation.

According to the filing, the investigation is based on a complaint filed in February by Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, alleging that the importation into the U.S. of certain products infringe a patent owned by Rothschild.

Gertrude Neumark Rothschild is a Professor Emerita and Special Research Scientist at Columbia University, from where she also received her Ph.D in chemistry in 1949. Rothschild is no stranger to the patent courts, as in 2006 she reached a settlement with Toyoda Gosei Co. Ltd. for infringement upon her LED patents.

Rothschild requests that the ITC issue exclusion orders and cease and desist orders. The case will be referred to ITC administrative law judge Paul J. Luckern, who will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of patent.



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RE: Problem
By molgenit on 3/27/2008 7:36:37 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are spot on here. It’s very easy for a company that is going to make a product to search for any patents that they need to license. It is FAR more difficult for a patent holder to find out about who is using their patent without any licensing, especially if it is a process patent which this seems to be. While you may deduce that a product is using a specific part there could be several ways to make that part in higher yields or cheaper using different processes and this can be tricky to track down. Some companies believe because they license a patent from the creator they may be able to use another’s patentable modifications and should not have to license it also. Since there is a limited time table it may be worth the gamble to them, and when there is extreme competition cutting corners is very common.


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