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WinDVD developer sues Dell

Hands off our instant-playback patent, firm says

WinDVD software developer InterVideo has sued Dell, claiming the PC giant has infringed one of its patents.

The developer yesterday said it had filed a formal complaint with the US District Court of Northern California.

The patent in question, number 6,765,788, details a "method and apparatus for integrating personal computer and electronic device functions". The patent essentially details a way of incorporating the controls for a consumer electronics device into a computer - think of a set of play/pause, fast forward and rewind buttons on the front of a laptop that allow the computer's DVD drive to operate just like a DVD player. The patent derives from a Taiwanese patent filed in 2002.

InterVideo appears to have acquired the patent - filed in January 2003 but not granted until July 2004 - which was originally assigned to Taiwanese manufacturer Mitac.

It maintains Dell incorporated such functionality into one or more of its products, and did so knowing that the technique was owned by a third-party. Last year, InterVideo alleged Acer had infringed the same patent - it said it had "resolved those cases to its satisfaction".

InterVideo said it has asked the court to ban Dell from making, importing, marketing and selling devices which infringe on the patent. It also wants the court to order Dell to cough up its legal costs along with unspecified "enhanced damages".

Separately, InterVideo said it lost $4.1m (30 cents a share) on sales of $27.6m during its most recently completed quarter, the second of fiscal 2005. Sales were up from the year-ago quarter's $16.7m. Knocking the company into the red was a $4.8m charge relating to its acquisition of Taiwan's Ulead last April - this time last year it reported a net income of $1.1m (seven cents a share).

InterVideo said Q3 FY2005 will yield sales in the range of $27-29m. GAAP earnings per share will be 15-17 cents a share. ®

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