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3M, Sony settle battery patent row

Posted: 02 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Li-ion? power supply? Sony battery? patent infringement?

3M Co. has dropped its battery patent lawsuit against Sony Corp. after the two parties agreed on a settlement plan. In the lawsuit, 3M accused the Tokyo-based electronics company and others of infringing on its patented technology found in Li-ion batteries, a rechargeable power supply used in devices ranging from mobile phones to notebook computers.

Under the settlement, Sony and Sony Electronics have agreed to license 3M-developed materials for cathodes, which are the positive electrodes in batteries. Terms of the agreement were not released.

3M filed its lawsuit in a U.S. district court last March, naming as defendants CDW, Hitachi, Lenovo, Matsushita Industrial Electric, Panasonic Corp. of North America, Sony and others. The suit sought damages that 3M argued should be tripled under the law for the defendants' "willful infringement." In addition, 3M wanted the court to issue a permanent injunction stopping the defendants from violating the company's patents.

3M claimed the defendants imported or sold patent-infringing Li-ion batteries or products that contained them. 3M claims it has invested significant resources in design, development and commercialization of advanced material technologies, and believes its inventions over the last 10 years are pivotal to the development of next-generation high-performance batteries.

- Antone Gonsalves

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