Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Vizio31 Jul, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel
A Washington, D.C. federal appeals court July 30 upheld patent infringement claims brought by Japanese consumer electronics firm Funai Electric Co. Ltd. against various digital high-definition television manufacturers, including Vizio.
The ruling mandates that future HDTVs sold under the Vizio, AOC, Olevia and Envision brands be banned from import or sale in the United States. Product currently in stock at retailers such as Costco, Best Buy and Wal-Mart can still be sold.
Vizio, which was the No. 1 HDTV brand sold during the first quarter of 2009, has maintained that the chipset technology at the heart of the litigation is no longer used in its products.
The court’s decision supports the International Trade Commission’s April 10 decision that Vizio and others infringed upon Funai’s digital-television patent.
Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio June 10 received a temporary stay of the ITC’s order in order to allow the federal government to review the 2007 case.
“Respondents have abused their privilege of doing business in the U.S. and the [lower court] judge, the ITC, President Obama, and now the federal circuit court of appeals have told them to stop,” said Funai’s lead attorney Karl Kramer, in a statement.
A Vizio spokesperson said the federal appeals court’s ruling has no bearing on the merits of its pending appeal, which he said is based on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s rejection of Funai’s U.S. Patent No. 6,115,074 ('074 patent), or on the current state of Vizio’s non-infringing technical solutions that it believes are not covered by the ITC's exclusion order.
“We firmly believe that the federal circuit will reverse ITC’s earlier determination and vindicate Vizio’s position in light of the recent final rejection of the ‘074 patent by the PTO,” the spokesperson said.
Other manufactures forbidden from importing or selling HDTV product in violation of Funai patents include AmTRAN Technology Co. Ltd., Proview International Holdings Ltd., Proview Technology Co. Ltd., Proview Technology Inc., TPV Technology Ltd., TPV International, Inc.; Top Victory Electronics Co., Ltd; Envision Peripherals, Inc.; Syntax-Brillian Corp. and Taiwan Kolin Co. Ltd.