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ITC To Rule On Offending TV Models

12/18/2008 04:15:00 PM Eastern

Rutherford, N.J. – An administrative law judge has recommended the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) bar importation of certain TV models from Vizio, Envision Peripherals, Proview, AOC and others for infringing Funai controlled patents.

According to a public notice of the action filed Tuesday, the recommendation was originally issued on Nov. 25, and indicated that Vizio, TPV, Amtran, Proview, Syntax-Brillian and other respondents had products found to infringe Funai’s U.S. Patent No. 6,115,074.

The judge recommended the ITC “issue a cease and desist order to prevent the respondents from the sale or distribution of infringing products in the United States.”

The ITC would also require the respondents to post a bond of 100 percent of the entered value of the infringing products during the presidential review period (within 60 days after a final determination).

The judge’s initial determination is subject to review by the full ITC Commission and, if reviewed, a final determination from the Commission is expected to be issued by March 2009.

“Funai is committed to respect the intellectual property rights of other parties and will continue to vigorously protect its intellectual property rights against infringers,” Funai said in a statement on the action. “Funai has over 20 licensees of its digital television patent portfolio.”

Funai’s controls patents related to tuning ATSC digital TV broadcast signals and other digital television technologies.

The current 11 respondents named in the action include the following:

Vizio (US); Amtran Technology(Taiwan); Proview International Holdings(Hong Kong); Proview Technology (Shenzhen, China); Proview Technology, (US); TPV Technology(Hong Kong); TPV International (US); Top Victory Electronics (Taiwan); Envision Peripherals(US); Syntax-Brillian (US); and Taiwan Kolin(Taiwan).

Commenting on the recommendation, Laynie Newsome, Vizio sales, marketing and communications VP, said," The Initial Determination by the Administrative Law Judge is not final. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently issued a preliminary `Office Action' that found all of the Funai claims in the ‘074 patent to be invalid. Therefore, we are petitioning the Commission to review the initial decision on the '074 patent, and we believe that upon review, the Commission should find the '074 patent to be invalid."
Newsome added, "We at Vizio respect the rights of intellectual property, we thoroughly investigate all claims, and we vigorously defend our legal rights when we feel a claim is invalid or not infringed. Unfortunately, we are not immune to lawsuits and we will defend as appropriate at all times."

In a prepared statement AOC said, "A patent litigation is quite common in this industry. So far, all cases related to AOC products are going well and we have very good defense.”

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