Monday, November 29, 2004

AMPEX SETTLES WITH SONY: Ampex Corporation, which is essentially a patent holding company, today announced that it has reached a settlement with Sony Corporation whereby Ampex will withdraw the patent litigation it initiated in July 2004 in the International Trade Commission (ITC) and in the Federal District Court for the District of Delaware relating to digital still cameras manufactured and sold by Sony.

Under the terms of the settlement, Sony will be licensed under several Ampex patents to manufacture and sell various products, including digital video tape recorders and digital still cameras. In return for a payment of $40.0 million, Sony will be permitted to use Ampex patents in any of its products for the period through April 2006. After that time, the licenses provide for running royalties based on sales of products including digital video tape recorders and digital still cameras to the extent that they utilize Ampex patents. The licenses provide that their terms are confidential.

- It looks like Ampex hit Sony where it hurt. With the dual district court/ITC lawsuit, Sony was looking at some potentially devastating losses from (a) not being able to import digital cameras if Ampex was successful in the ITC (where cases can have judgments rendered within 16 months of the the filing of the complaint); (b) facing potentially huge damages in the infringement action; and (c) at best, spending millions in legal fees defending both actions.

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