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Sony Settles Blu-ray Patent Dispute

Posted May 28, 2008 08:40 AM by Josh Dreuth

Blu-ray DiscSony has settled a lawsuit with Columbia University Professor Emerita Gertrude Neumark Rothschild which focused on the technology used for basic semiconductor technology used in current Blu-ray players. During the 80's and 90's, Professor Rothschild owns patents for wide band-gap semiconductors which are widely recognized to have led to the development of short-wavelength light emitting diodes, such as the blue laser diode used for Blu-ray.

Albert L. Jacobs, Jr. of Dreier LLP Intellectual Property commented, " Professor Rothschild is very pleased that both Sony and Sanyo, and other major electronics makers have recognized her major scientific contributions to LED and LD technology. Professor Rothschild made a seminal breakthrough in understanding the doping requirements necessary for the production of the blue, green, violet and ultraviolet LEDs and LDs on a commercial and efficient scale that are essential to today's consumer electronics, and highly deserves this recognition for her work."

Details of the settlement were not released.

Source: | Permalink | United States [Country settings]

News comments (9 comments)

  May 28, 2008
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Hmm, shame on you Sony for doing that! Good to hear it was resolved without issue.

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Top contributor
  May 28, 2008
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That is very cool that they looked after Professor Rothschild instead of letting her foot the bill for a lawsuit all the way to the highest courts.

People should be rewarded for their personal work that advances any technology or science.

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Blu Titan
  May 28, 2008
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Corporations infringe on patent protection all the time. A patent is worthless unless you have the financial means to defend it in court. Glad to see that Professor Rothschild did not get ripped off.

Robert Franklin
  May 28, 2008
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It wasn't just Sony. It was other CE copanies as well, but I'm glad she deserves credit and credit is due her. She's gonna get PAID!!

  May 28, 2008
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Way to make amends. If it were not for the research and development done by these fine people, technology would not advance. By Sony (and other CE's) recognizing those persons contributions keeps those types of people with the imaginative spirit interested in evolving technology. If they were bulldozed over by the large powers that be and not recognized for their work, they would have no reason to evolve current technology and invent others.

But one interesting note is the mention of Violet and Ultraviolet LEDs. Imagine the future possibilities for optical storage space with wavelengths in the 200-400nm range.

  May 28, 2008
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Huh. I am sure Sony is not suffering from this at all.
I knew they would settle sooner or later.
  May 28, 2008
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Hey, you guys got this all wrong. Here is how it works -- instead of doing a comprehensive patent search of anything and everything that your product may infringe upon, which is not possible, most companies only do a simple search. In a lot of the cases, the original patent is either very vague or very broad, which requires people with great scientific and technical knowledge to interpret. Even that, it may not be possible all the time. The court, and most patent lawyers, are certainly even less qualified to do so. So, the common practice for most corporations is to take a risk. They do a simple patent search. If they don't find anything, they can go ahead with the product development. The penalty on patent infringement is less severe if you don't know about the existence of the patent than if you do. If you know about the patent, and purposedly infringe upon it, the penalty is higher. That's why it is better if you don't do a lengthy search and attempt to interpret every patent that may remotely related to the product that you are trying to develop. If this is your approach, you will never succeed in bringing out new products. Because by the time you are done with the patent search, you will have missed the market already. Companies are betting on the fact that the patent holder doesn't come forth. This is usually the case. If and when s/he does, they will settle it outside of the court. It is far cheaper to do it this way. This is exactly what Sony and Sanyo did, which is indeed the right approach.

  May 28, 2008
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well at least she got her comeupants

  May 29, 2008
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I'm suprise she got something out of this, I thought this whole lawsuit from Rothschild was ridiculous... she tried to sue other companies in the past and failed, all were ridiculous claims... she could of brought this lawsuit the day HD-DVD/Blu-ray came out but she waited over a year then finally decided to sue the companies... geeeee I wonder why. She just wants to milk as much money as she can.

Oh well, glad this whole lawsuit deal got resolved.

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