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Directed Electronics (DEI) filed a complaint for patent infringement against eight car security companies last month in the District Court for the Central District of California.
The suit alleges that Precision Engineering Industries Inc., Clarion Corp. of America, Accele Electronics Inc., David Levy Co., Eli Electronics Inc., Right Connection Electronics In., Crimestopper Security Products Inc. and Delta Vehicle Security infringed on DEI's patents.
K. C. Bean, DEI's legal and intellectual property manager, said, "Directed has close to 80 patents in automotive security. We acquired additional patents when we purchased Clifford Electronics last year." Patents from both Clifford and DEI were violated, he said. These included patents on multistage shock sensors (it gives off a warning of lights flashing or a chirping sound when a passerby touches the vehicle, and then if it continues to be violated, it sets off a full alarm); sensor bypass (which allows you to re-arm a system even if one sensor is malfunctioning); and door-lock pull (some door locks operate on a short pulse and some on a long pulse). DEI has a variable pulse system.
"Frankly, most security manufacturers in the industry are infringing on our patents in one way or another," Bean said. DEI hopes to resolve the suit through licensing arrangements with the defendants or a cease and desist order.
"Hopefully we can come to some kind of agreement that makes sense for both parties," he said.
Jim Minarik, president/CEO of DEI said, "Directed has invested many millions of dollars developing and marketing its technology. This technology is protected by a large portfolio of patents and covers many features available in today's security systems. These intellectual properties represent a significant asset of the company and we intend to protect them."
The patents involved are United States Patent No 4,887,064, which claims a multifeatured security system with self-diagnostic capability; No. 5,534,845, which claims an advanced automotive automation and security system; No. 5,157,375, which claims an electronic vehicle security system; and No. 5,646,591, which claims an advanced method of indicating incoming threat level to an electronically secured vehicle and apparatus.
Directed manufactures brands including Viper, Clifford, Python, Avital, Sidewinder and Valet.
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