Another Blu-ray Battle

The odds of Columbia University professor Getrude Neumark Rothschild's complaint with the International Trade Commission evolving into a patent suit that wipes Blu-ray technology out of all the electronics companies in the world are so slim they're transparent.

But that doesn't mean the woman's claims - that she owns patents on short-wavelength (blue) light-emitting lasers and diodes - haven't raised a few eyebrows.

The ITC voted late last week to investigate her claim, which lists more than 30 companies (Sony, Pioneer, Samsung, and Toshiba are all named) involved in some way with Blu-ray manufacturing.

Rothschild claims these companies violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing certain electronics components into the United States, and her claim requests cease-and-desist orders be presented to these companies. But that's a long way from reality.

Next, the ITC will schedule a hearing. Should the ITC determine that these companies have violated section 337, and should Rothschild proceed with a lawsuit, she could benefit from an out-of-court settlement. But victorious high-def format Blu-ray will remain on store shelves. -Rachel Rosmarin

U.S. International Trade Commission