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Judge rules against Canon, Inc., Nano-Proprietary has option to terminate SED agreement

The legal battle between Canon, Inc. and Nano-Proprietary, may have reached an end on Thursday.  A U.S. court ruled against Japan's Canon, Inc. in the licensing dispute over Nano-Proprietary's surface-conduction electron-emitter displays.

Nano-Proprietary now has the right to terminate its license agreement with Canon it had made in 1999, according to the ruling by Judge Samuel Sparks of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

The licensing dispute was triggered when Canon licensed its agreement on the technology with Toshiba Corp. for manufacturing.  The venture was then deemed an infringement on the agreement between Canon and Nano-Proprietary.  Nano-Proprietary claimed that the licensing deal did not extend to Toshiba Corp.

Before the legal battle panned out, Canon announced it would buy out all of Toshiba's shares in the joint venture, Nano-Proprietary stuck to its guns, stating that the decision would not change the company's stance in the litigation. 

"Canon's recent restructuring of SED as a wholly owned subsidiary is ineffective to prevent termination because this effort to cure the breach was not undertaken within a reasonable time.  It occurred more than a year and a half after Canon was on notice of its breach." commented Judge Sparks on Canon's move to prevent the termination of the agreement.

The production of the SED display was anticipated to boost Canon's revenue, with the company trying to get its foot in the door of the $84 billion flat-panel display market.  Because of its new presence in the scene, Canon had extended out its license to the SED technology in order to acquire more experienced flat-panel manufacturers

According to Reuters, the Tokyo-based company reassessed its plan to build a 180 billion Yen ($1.48 billion USD) factory in Western Japan for flat-panel mass production.  Even with the latest news in the lawsuit, Canon still aims to produce SED panels at a smaller site and wants to keep Japan availability for the fourth quarter of this year.

Nano-Proprietary stated last month in a press release that even though Canon had infringed on the license agreement, the Texas-based company would be willing to sign a new agreement post-litigation.



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Something smells funny...
By daftrok on 2/25/2007 1:17:47 PM , Rating: 3
Why is Nano-Proprietary so pissed off with Canon for going to Toshiba for MANUFACTURING? At first I thought that because it is an infringement and it can hold water in court (which it did) and they can get some money off of it. But wouldn't have been more lucrative to just forget about it at this point and push SED technology sooner? According to the specifications: it looks amazing, it takes less power consumption, it makes your coffee, and is cheaper. I think Nano-Proprietary is purposefully delaying SED for another reason and I think it may have something to do with the technology.




RE: Something smells funny...
By Whedonic on 2/25/2007 1:54:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's probably because Canon didn't let Nano-Proprietary haggle over the manufacturing contract. Since they are the ones who really own the technology, they might've felt that Canon was trying to completely take over all aspects, as opposed to only what was in their contract.


RE: Something smells funny...
By Oregonian2 on 2/27/2007 3:18:04 PM , Rating: 2
I think it more likely that Canon got good terms because the contract was made so very long ago. Now that they've been working on it and spent development R&D money on it, Nano-P. is in a LOT better position to negotiate much better terms, but only if they can get out of their previous contract. Which they have done. But it also opens the risk that the highly price-competitive market would make such negotiations difficult, and any delay is letting other technologies run market prices down further.


“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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