Philips faces legal challenge over fluid lens technology

War among the electrowetters...

As we suggested might be about to happen, Varioptic is going legal over Philips' announcement of a low-cost, mass-manufactured fluid lens system. Varioptic has been developing such systems for some years now, and in an announcement today stated its intention to "actively enforce the patents it holds on the use of electrowetting technology to create variable focus lenses."

According to the statement, Varioptic "officially informed Philips about its patents and asked Philips on what basis it considers itself eligible to create any product incorporating this fluid-lens technology."

"Varioptic's decision to enforce its patents follows a written request to Gerard Kleisterlee, Chairman, President and CEO of Philips Electronics requesting the basis on which Philips intends to produce products using Varioptic's patented technology without a license or other agreement. The response to this letter made clear that Varioptic will have to take the necessary legal actions to enforce its patents and intellectual property assets."

The precise content of Kleisterlee's response is not detailed, but it was clearly sufficient to trigger war among the electrowetters. ®

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