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Retailers Served in Patent Suit

29 Nov, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

Retailers targeted in a lawsuit claiming patent rights for DVD playback have been served with the suit, but no further action is expected in the near future. Attorney Alan Block, of the Los Angeles firm Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman, said he has spoken with representatives for some of the 11 retailers named in the case, but “we have not heard from the retailers, other than to communicate that they look to their suppliers and manufacturers” to handle licensing obligations on their products. “Some have provided lists of their suppliers,” including software distributors, Block said. Studios were not included among the product suppliers submitted, he added.

Block represents Multi-Format Inc., of Dumont, N.J. In August, he sent more than 100 letters to retailers, player and computer manufacturers, and studios that announced his intent to go to court if the retailers fail to sign onto licensing agreements by Oct. 15. That deadline was extended to Nov. 15, but to date no one has agreed to the licensing plan. Multi-Format is offering “early adopter” rates -- a cost less than the company would seek in court -- for those who sign on without going to court, Block said.

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