Vizio Versus the Big Boys
Relative newcomer Vizio is in some awfully hot water. A veritable who's-who of electronics manufacturers, including Sony, Philips, Samsung and Mitsubishi have filed suit against the maker of affordable flat-panel TVs. What did Vizio do to piss off the rest of the industry?
The suit claims that Vizio has violated patents on MPEG-2 compression technology, the compression scheme used in DVDs and HDTV. There are a total of 15 patents involved in the lawsuit. Vizio is refusing to license MPEG-2, claiming that the licenses are already held by Vizio's suppliers, so Vizio doesn't need to re-license them.
A similar suit is already filed against Target's TruTech televisions. There's no ruling yet on that case.
Perhaps part of the reason Vizio can offer such low prices on HDTVs (their sets are sold at stores such as Costco and Wal-Mart) might be because they're not paying the license fees that other manufacturers are paying. Guess the old-timers are looking for anyway they can to cause Vizio some pain. Nothing hurts like a direct hit to a company's bottom line.-Leslie Shapiro
Photo by Eitan f