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Posted: March 5, 2007
Canon is confident in patent-related dispute over nanotechnology TV
(Nanowerk News) On February 23 we reported that a federal judge in the U.S. has ruled that Canon breached a licensing agreement with a small nanotechnology company, a decision that puts another roadblock into Canon's effort to come out with a whole new style of flat screen TVs ("Canon's nanotech TV goes down the tube").
Now, Canon Inc. Chairman Fujio Mitarai said he expects his company to win a patent-related dispute in the United States and pursue its plan to enter the $84 billion flat-panel television market.
"I don't think we will lose" in the continuing litigation brought by Nano-Proprietary Inc., Mitarai said in a meeting with analysts Friday, according a company spokesman.
Texas-based Nano-Proprietary in December cut off its license agreement with the Japanese electronics giant on the grounds that Canon had tried to share patents with Toshiba Corp and other firms.
Canon, the world's top maker of copiers and cameras, and Nano-Proprietary are trying to reach a settlement before the U.S. court rules on damages due the U.S. firm, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
Tokyo-based Canon is the third-biggest patent holder in the United States.
Nano-Proprietary's technology that was licensed to Canon is used for surface-conduction electron-emitter displays (SED) TVs, which are said to have brighter images and consume less energy than existing LCDs and plasma models.
Mitarai said cost is another issue for SEDs.
"We wouldn't go ahead with SEDs until we are sure we can make the business profitable in three years," he said.
The 71-year-old chairman also said the company is interested in other types of flat-panel displays designed for large TVs, including organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), which Sony Corp. (Charts) also develops, and rear-projection displays.
Canon, which also makes camcorders, has always been interested in making products that could display video, following its success in offering both cameras and printers.
Mitarai also said Canon will focus on developing future technologies in medical, intellectual robots and security, and will aim to launch new businesses in those areas after 2010, the spokesman said.