http://www.ip.philips.com/articles/late ... _case.html
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS, 6 February 2007 – Royal Philips Electronics (AEX:PHI; NYSE:PHG) announced today that in a patent infringement case between Philips Electronics and CD-Recordable and CD-Re-writable disc manufacturers including Princo and Gigastorage, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled positively in granting a general exclusion order prohibiting the unlicensed importation into the United States of recordable and rewritable compact discs that infringe any of the six patents asserted by Philips. Philips welcomes this positive step in its continuous effort to stop the import of illegal CD-R/RW discs into the US, which creates unfair competition in the recordable disc market.
Philips filed this case with the ITC in 2002 seeking to prevent unlicensed CD-R and CD-RW discs from entering the United States. The ITC had found in March 2004 that six Philips patents were valid and infringed by the manufacturers, but also determined that the patents were unenforceable because of patent misuse. After Philips appealed the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) held that the ITC’s legal analysis was incorrect and remanded the case to the ITC for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.
Despite many efforts by Philips the companies involved in this case, including Princo and Gigastorage, refused to pay royalties for the use of CD-R and CD-RW disc technology invented by Philips. As a result, in order to protect its legitimate licensees and support the aim of creating a level playing field, Philips took the legal steps necessary to enforce its intellectual property rights.
Ben Beune, IP Licensing Director and Senior Vice President of Philips International, said “Philips welcomes the ITC’ decision and believes it is good news for licensed manufacturers in the market and for all companies that invest in research and development. We always believed that our approach to licensing made the most sense for manufacturers and we are gratified that the ITC’s decision underlines that Philips’ approach to licensing is entirely legitimate and rational”. Each of the licenses involved in this action comprise a simple structure where for a fixed fee per disc the manufacturer obtains access to a comprehensive package of patents needed for the manufacture of these discs. The packages have mutual benefits for manufacturers and patent owners alike because they reduce uncertainty about use of patents, lower costs and promote competition. Ben Beune further stated “We appreciated the efforts of the ITC in undertaking this investigation and are pleased with the successful resolution of this case.”
The judgment of the ITC follows previous rulings in 2005 in other court cases between Philips and each of Princo and Gigastorage in which the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York found that Princo and Gigastorage each infringed the six patents in suit, dismissing their antitrust claims and defense of patent misuse and granting an injunction forbidding further sales of the CD-R and CD-RW discs by Princo and Gigastorage in the United States.
In its role as a technology provider Philips has offered many technologies to third parties. In the case at issue, Philips offers licenses under patented technology needed to manufacture CD-R and CD-RW discs on reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions. Philips also makes its technology available for many other optical storage products under similar arrangements. These include DVD discs and players and more recently a variety of recordable DVD discs and recorders.