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Toshiba sues DVD duplicator Acme

Claims manufactured discs unlicensed

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Toshiba last week launched legal action against an Italian disc duplication company it maintains has infringed its intellectual property.

The complaint, filed with the Milan District Court, claims that disc replicator Acme SpA has been punching out discs that match the DVD specification even though the Italian company has not licensed the technology from Toshiba or the DVD6C Licensing Group, one of the holding companies for DVD patents pooled on behalf of nine companies.

This, Toshiba alleged, has harmed its own DVD business, and it wants the Italian court to force Acme not only to license the allegedly infringed patents but also to cough up damages. Toshiba also wants the court to ban Acme from replicating DVDs in the meantime.

Toshiba has plenty of experience of this kind of thing. In July 2007, it sued Görlitz-based German disc duplicator EDD Bizz GmbH for essentially the same thing: allegedly producing DVDs without without the right to do so.

And Toshiba has separately taken legal action in the US against a number of Taiwanese DVD drive makers and American importers and wholesalers during the past five years, most recently filing complaints on 6 April 2007 against "17 manufacturers and importers of DVD-related products" from the US, China and Hong Kong, including Daewoo and jWIN.

The case against EDD is not expected to come before the Düsseldorf District Court until this coming Summer. At the time, EDD said it was currently in licensing negotiations with DVD intellectual property holders and accused Toshiba of jumping the gun.

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