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ClearPlay in Patent Flap

22 Jul, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

ClearPlay has vowed to expand its movie-masking technology, despite a patent claim from Nissim Corp. alleging the maker of the controversial system for skipping potentially offensive content on DVDs is infringing its patents.

The ClearPlay technology was included in one model of DVD player that RCA offered via Wal-Mart, but RCA reportedly agreed to stop making the players until the dispute is settled. The players were still available on Walmart.com at press time.

Nissim sued ClearPlay in May, alleging the company infringed its patents to “segment encoding” information that lets viewers skip or access certain parts of DVDs.

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

“Nissim is alleging that we infringe on patents that don't even apply to DVD,” ClearPlay co-founder Matthew Jarman said. “Unfortunately, [RCA parent] Thomson had an unrelated licensing agreement with Nissim that was a potential concern to them. These legal issues will be sorted out, and we will move on.”

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