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Firms fight over universal remote control patents

One For All vs Harmony

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One For All remote control maker Universal Electronics (UEI) has begun legal action against Logitech after the manufacturer of Harmony remote controls refused to re-license a number of its patents.

Logitech maintains that the intellectual properties in question, which it did license in 2004, no longer apply to its products.

Logitech licensed 17 UEI patents when it acquired the Harmony brand and technology in 2004. The original licence agreement came to an end on 30 June 2010. UEI wanted Logitech to renew. Logitech would not do so, so UEI is suing, alleging infringement of those 17 patents.

The Swiss company maintains that three of the 17 patents have now expired. Four more, it claims, were never put on the table during the renewal negotiations and, in any case, detail technologies and techniques that are no longer implemented in Harmony remotes.

UEI is pursuing its grievance in the US District Court for Central California. Both UEI and Logitech expressed their confidence in the strength of their respective cases.

An out-of-court settlement, the customary resolution of such battles, is likely to follow, we say. ®

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