Apple, Others Sued For Monitor Patent Infringements

C|Net is reporting that Apple is among the companies named in a lawsuit by Elonex IP Holdings and EIP Licensing. The lawsuit, filed Friday in a Delaware court, accuses 22 computer makers for patent infringements regarding how monitors function in a low-power mode. The patents in question were issued to Elonex in 1995, 1997, and 1999.

According to C|Net:

Elonex IP Holdings and EIP, which are subsidiaries with England-based Elonex, assert that the patents in question were adopted without permission by an industry trade association called the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).

The two plaintiffs allege that when manufacturers use the so-called Display Power Management Signaling standard, they effectively incorporate technology into their products that falls within the realm of the patents. As a result, the plaintiffs allege, the PC makers should pay royalties.

However, it is not that simple. VESA bylaws state that members must disclose intellectual property information, and it is unknown whether Elonex was forthright with information about their patent holdings when VESA was establishing a set of standards for its members to follow.

The defendants, however, may try to use VESAis bylaws as a defense. Many standards organizations require members to disclose intellectual property interests. If Elonex was a member of VESA and did not disclose its patents during the standards-setting process, the defendants can claim that they are not required to pay royalties.

You can read the full article at the C|Net Web site.