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WiLAN Initiates V-Chip Patent Litigation Against LG
Jan 22, 2010
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Wi-LAN Inc., a consumer electronics licensing company, has initiated litigation in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York against LG Electronics, Inc. (Seoul, Korea) and LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, U.S.). WiLAN’s claim is for fraud and breach of contract, relating to LG’s failure to pay WiLAN in accordance with a previously signed license agreement, and for infringement of WiLAN’s patented V-Chip technology.

WiLAN’s V-Chip technology, invented by Professor Tim Collings in 1991 as disclosed in U.S. Patent No 5,828,402, provides television viewers with the ability to block content that they consider inappropriate. V-Chip technology was legislated by the U.S. federal government under former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1996.

WiLAN’s predecessors, Tri-Vision International Corp. and Tri-Vision Electronics Inc., began licensing V-Chip technology to TV manufacturers in 1999. WiLAN acquired Tri-Vision in 2007. At present, more than 110 companies and millions of V-Chip-enabled TVs and digital TV receivers sold each year in the U.S. and Canada are licensed under WiLAN’s patented V-Chip technology. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that certain functionality associated with the V-Chip technology be included in certain digital TV sets and digital television receivers (DVD players, PVRs) that are sold without an associated display.

In a press release about the litigation, WiLAN said it recently learned that a third party law firm filed a request for re-examination of the 402 patent in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). According to USPTO rules, it is not likely to make a decision on whether to grant this re-examination request for several months, the technology company said. WiLAN stated it does not know the identity of party in interest who made this re-examination request.

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