In addition to its battles on the sales floor, Vizio has been fighting in the courtrooms and halls of government these days. Last Wednesday, the company announced another victory in its on-going disputes with Funai over claims of copyright infringement by VIZIO products. The US Customs and Border Protection agency ruled in favor of VIZIO, indicating that its products do not violate Funai’s patent. This decision makes it possible for the company to continue to import its products.
As I’ve discussed here in the past, the waters of intellectual property (IP), patents, and licensing have grown increasingly muddy, and it is becoming more and more difficult for technology companies to navigate through them. Some companies appear to use IP disputes as competitive weapons, and the process certainly appears to favor those with deep pockets and the willingness to spend the enormous amounts required by the various legal proceedings. The fact that some key patents are now being ruled invalid only confuses matters more.
As a result, we can expect to see legal maneuvering around IP issues to be as much a part of the display industry as manufacturing and marketing strategies.