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ClearPlay Clears Away Patent Lawsuit

30 Nov, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

Movie sanitizer ClearPlay Inc. and Nissim Corp. have settled an 18-month patent dispute that halted production of ClearPlay-enabled DVD players from RCA.

The players made a splash at Wal-Mart when they were introduced in April 2004 before they were pulled. Nissim alleged that ClearPlay was infringing on its patents on technology used for “segment encoding” of information to let viewers skip or access certain parts of DVDs.

The technology is the same that lets viewers of discs such as the 1997 New Line Home Entertainment film Crash choose to watch an ‘R'-rated version from the ‘NC-17' disc, according to Nissim. ClearPlay's product, however, is aimed at skipping adult content and foul language.

ClearPlay has agreed to license some patent rights from Nissim, and both companies have dismissed all claims against each other.

ClearPlay has been feeling the sting of litigation for the past three years, first from Hollywood studios over copyright issues and then from Nissim.

All Hollywood claims were dismissed in August after Congress passed the Family Movie Act, which expressly permits DVD filtering mechanisms that do not alter the physical product.

"It is great to have this behind us," said ClearPlay CEO Bill Aho. "There has been a tremendous amount of pent-up demand, and we look forward to featuring ClearPlay in a variety of consumer electronic products in 2006, including DVD, PVR and cable and satellite set-tops."

Finally freed of litigation, ClearPlay plans to launch ClearPlay TV, a service that will filter offensive language from broadcast television via TVs, set-top boxes or as a standalone devices next year.

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