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Will Use New Technology : Apollo, Israeli Firm Start Venture

Times Staff Writer

Apollo Lasers of Chatsworth will make and market advanced laser products being developed in a joint venture with a leading Israeli research institute.

Apollo will team up with Rotem Industries, the commercial arm of the Nuclear Research Center of the Negev, to apply Rotem’s technology to industrial and scientific uses, according to Patlex Corp., the Westfield, N.J.-based parent of Apollo. Patlex said it expects the joint venture to produce new technology less expensively than it could in the United States.

Stress Detection

The company said one or two Israeli scientists probably will come to Chatsworth to work directly with Apollo, which has about 40 employees. Financial terms of the joint venture were not available.

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Stephen Nagler, Patlex’s lawyer, said one project involves moire pattern technology, which uses lasers to detect stresses in metal, glass and other industrial materials. He said the aim is to develop a cheaper way for industry to use the technology.

Apollo, founded in 1968, was sold to Patlex in June by Allied Corp. in a $3.4-million stock deal. Allied did not do well with Apollo: it paid $9.8 million for the company in 1981, and last year Apollo said it had “significant” losses on revenue exceeding $5 million.

Apollo is the manufacturing and marketing arm and main business unit of Patlex, which was founded 11 years ago by the current chairman, Richard I. Samuel, to obtain and exploit laser patents.

Samuel was a noted patent lawyer whose firm represented physicist Gordon Gould in his lengthy struggle to obtain a laser patent. Gould first sought a laser patent in 1949, claiming to have invented the device while in graduate school.

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Laser Royalties

Patlex took over the fight in return for 64% of the royalties that might come from any patent it could get for Gould, who is a major shareholder and sits on the Patlex board. The fight has cost Patlex $2.5 million.

Patlex and Gould won an important victory Dec. 19 when a federal judge in Washington, D. C., ordered that Gould be issued a fundamental patent for gas discharge lasers, which are widely used in supermarket checkout devices and other optical scanners.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Flannery won’t give Patlex back payments but, if it stands, the company will receive royalties and hold a patent for 17 years.


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