Report: Canon dodges bullet in SED litigation

May 7, 2007 – Canon Inc. says that an Austin, TX jury has dismissed fraud claims brought by Nano-Proprietary Inc., and that the US firm had sustained no damages; all claims against Canon USA were dismissed.

The court had previously determined that Canon breached a patent license agreement with Nano-Proprietary regarding surface conduction electron emitter display (SED) technology, which has shown potential application in displays, promising better picture quality and less energy consumption than current FPD technology such as liquid-crystal displays (LCD) and plasma. SED also is potentially the first significant opportunity to bring nanoelectronics into a volume-produced product.

Under that ruling, Nano-Proprietary — which has said it is exploring alternative business strategies beyond life as an IP licensing firm — was allowed to terminate its license to Canon Inc. regarding use of SED technology.

Canon took full control from partner Toshiba in their 50-50 JV, SED Inc., which they formed to make and market SED technology-based products, in an effort to smooth its dispute with Nano-Proprietary. However, the US firm has indicated it will continue with plans to terminate the license, though expressed willingness to negotiate a new contract.

Undeterred, days ago Canon Anelva Corp., said it plans to boost production capacity at its factory in Yamanashi Prefecture by 80% over the next three years to get ready to make equipment for display panels based on the SED technology, according to the Nikkei Business Daily.


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