Faroudja Experiences Mixed Results from Recent Patent Suits

Last week, video-technology developer Faroudja announced the resolution of a patent dispute with Snell & Wilcox. In the dispute, Faroudja alleged that S&W's Interpolator infringed a patent held by Faroudja as well as two patents licensed by Faroudja from General Instrument on an exclusive basis in certain fields.

Specific terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed, but Faroudja claims that a key element compels Snell & Wilcox to obtain from them a royalty-bearing license to two General Instrument patents. The license applies only to home-theater products, and no technology transfer is involved in the agreement. Faroudja says the patents included in the settlement relate to detecting the 3:2 pulldown sequence of film-originated video and deinterlacing techniques used to improve the picture quality of television displays.

In other patent news, Faroudja also announced last week that it will continue to "aggressively" pursue a patent-infringement suit it has filed against Dwin Electronics. On February 24, 1999, Dwin was granted a summary judgment motion on the basis of non-infringement regarding one of the two patents in the suit Faroudja brought against Dwin. Faroudja says the summary judgment will be appealed.

According to Kenneth S. Boschwitz, Faroudja's vice president and general counsel, "We are surprised and disappointed by the ruling, but the case is far from over. We will continue to prosecute the second patent in this case vigorously and appeal the summary judgment ruling at the appropriate time."