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Taiwan-based PV wafer maker Gigastorage has decided to appeal to Taiwan's Supreme Court against a recent ruling issued by Taiwan's Intellectual Property Court (IPC) to have the company pay electronics giant Royal Philips NV NT$1.05 billion (US$30 million) over a patent infringement lawsuit filed in 2015, significantly increasing an initial award of only NT$10.5 million set in an earlier ruling.
Gigastorage chairman Jimmy Chen announced the decision at an investors conference held July 28, one month after the IPC handed down its amended ruling on the lawsuit. In the judgment, Gigastorage was acquitted of DVD-R encoding patent infringement charges filed by Philips, but was ordered to return an improper gain of US$0.06 for each DVD-R disc sold by Gigastorage.
Chen said that the ruling was far from justifiable or acceptable, stressing that his company will fight to safeguard the dignity and efforts of Taiwan-based makers in protecting intellectual property rights and dampening reckless infringement charges filed by overseas companies.
Erroneous ruling may trigger patent extortion by foreign brands
Chen lashed out at the IPC judges in the second ruling for having little idea about issue, stressing that it is the DVD-R disc encoder, not the blank disc, that executes the encoding function, thus leading to the erroneous ruling. He lamented that the IPC ruling would encourage international brands to come to Taiwan to extort payments over patents.
Chen continued that his company turned out blank DVD-R discs which having nothing to do with the encoding technology patent as claimed by Philips. Actually, Philips failed to explain away doubts raised by Gigastorage about what constituted the "patent" of the encoding technology, and was forced to change the patent "content" whenever questioned, according to Chen.
At the conference, Hsieh Chin-yuan, a company director, also noted that Philips filed a similar lawsuit against Gigastorage with a court in Italy more than 10 years ago, but the court ruled in 2005 in favor of Gigastorage. Philips patent rights over DVD-R encoding technology were about to expire 10 years later in Taiwan, prompting the company to file a patent infringement charge with the IPC against Gigastorage in 2015.