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Elonex sues Compaq over power saving patent

Goes after a dozen companies in all

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London system builder Elonex is suing a bunch of computer monitor makers, including Compaq and Gateway, over alleged infringement of power saving patents.

The 12 separate lawsuits, brought by Elonex IP Holdings and the Netherlands' EIP Licensing, claim that a dozen manufacturers infringed three Elonex patents regarding power management technologies in computers left on and unused, Reuters reported.

The suits were filed late yesterday in the US District Court in Delaware.

Elonex claims the US and Japanese trade association the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) used standards related to its technology during the time its "Low-power-consumption monitor system" patents were still pending. These patents were issued in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

VESA is not one of the defendants in the cases. The Display Power Management Signalling (DPMS) standard allows computers to tell the attached monitor's brain to switch to different power saving modes, such as taking the picture off the screen.

As well as Compaq and Gateway, the other companies hit by the suit are Proview International Holdings, Pixie Technologies, LG Electronics, Delta Electronics, Amtran Technology Co, Kuo Feng Corp, NEC, Lite-On Technology, Compal Electronics, and ADI Corp. These businesses, "like virtually every other computer and monitor manufacturer in the industry, began using the technology described in the patents... when they began producing monitors utilizing the DPMS standard," Reuters reported court papers state.

Elonex and EIP Licensing want an injunction to stop manufacturers using this commonplace technology, plus damages for missed royalty payments. And other manufacturers have not escaped - another nine suits are expected to be filed today.

Last January Mitsubishi agreed to get licenses for Elonex's power management technology, joining the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi and Philips. A list of Elonex patents can be found here. ®

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