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Lawsuit Seeks to Nullify JPEG Patent

From Bloomberg News

IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and 20 other computer industry rivals sued Forgent Networks Inc. and Motorola Inc.'s General Instrument Corp. on Tuesday seeking to invalidate a patent for the JPEG standard of digital image processing.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Wilmington, Del., the companies said Forgent’s Compression Labs Inc. and General Instrument were wrongly trying to enforce their 1987 signal-coding patent, which the lawsuit said was unenforceable.

The defendants are “attempting unlawfully to subvert the JPEG standard and to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in unwarranted profits” from computer companies, the companies alleged in the suit.

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JPEG, adopted by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, is used for compression and storage of digital images and is compatible with a variety of computers. Compression Labs sued some of the computer companies in federal court in Marshall, Texas, this year, alleging infringement of the patent, according to the Delaware lawsuit.

Other companies that joined in the lawsuit included Agfa Corp., Dell Inc., Gateway Inc., Matsushita Electric Corp. of America, PalmOne Inc., Ricoh Corp., Apple Computer Inc., Canon USA Inc., Eastman Kodak Co., Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc., Toshiba America Inc. and Xerox Corp.

Forgent spokesman Michael Noonan and Motorola spokeswoman Monica Randall didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Shares of Schaumberg, Ill.-based Motorola dropped 92 cents to $16.85 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. Austin, Texas-based Forgent slid 2 cents to $1.49 on Nasdaq.


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