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Patent Suit Stops Thomson From Selling ClearPlay

7/26/2004 02:00:00 AM Eastern

BOCA RATON, FLA. Ongoing patent infringement litigation between developers of parent-friendly DVD player technology has forced Thomson to discontinue marketing a popular RCA ClearPlay DVD player carried nationally by Wal-Mart and Kmart.

At the start of the year, Thomson introduced its RCA DRC232N DVD player with the ClearPlay parental-control feature as a product exclusive for the two national chains.

The system is said to strip out objectionable language and scenes from pre-recorded DVD movies, using a database maintained and marketed with a variety of subscription options by ClearPlay.

However, Nissim Corp., based here, filed a patent infringement claim against ClearPlay on May 13. Nissim has developed a system called CustomPlay MediaCenter with parental control features.

ClearPlay's CEO Bill Aho, could not be reached for comment.

"CustomPlay MediaCenter is an operating system middle layer that enables all-in-one home entertainment set-top players to synergistically integrate the most advanced set of digital media capabilities," Nissim said. "CustomPlay MediaCenter's user interface implements revolutionary auto-active media controls and innovative features that provide unparallel playback of a full spectrum of digital content.

"CustomPlay MediaControls include time management, subject retrieval, keyword search, presentation controls, content preferences and multi-user controls," the statement continued.

"We are working with a number of our licensees, and we will work with other potential partners to bring to market a CustomPlay MediaCenter as soon as possible," added Max Abecassis, Nissim Corp. CEO.

According to a prepared statement from Thomson, "Thomson was recently notified by Nissim of their claims regarding unlicensed infringement of Nissim's U.S. patents by ClearPlay. Therefore, after completing shipment of its first run of RCA DVD players equipped with the ClearPlay parental control feature, and while the product has done very well at retail distribution, we are no longer distributing this model. We are continuing to monitor the litigation situation between Nissim and ClearPlay."

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