VIZIO In Patent Setback

Irvine-based VIZIO, a manufacturer of flat panel HDTVs, has been handed a setback in the firm's legal fight with competing TV maker Funai. According to Funai, President Obama has decided not to overrule an ITC order which found that VIZIO violated Funai patents. Funai claimed in a statement that the lack of action from Obama means that Vizio and its associates have been barred from importing and selling infringing digital television products in the U.S. In a response, VIZIO claimed that the patents covered "obsolete" VIZIO television products, which are "no longer shipping and no longer in production." VIZIO said the products in the patent lawsuit are "no longer in mass production" and that the move would "not impact" the firm's ability to conduct business. VIZIO itself launched a patent lawsuit targeted at Funai in late May, is appealing the ITC's order, and claims that Funai has violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Act, and California's unfair competition and antitrust law for refusing to license its patents to VIZIO. VIZIO also said it is seeking emergency relief from the Federal Circuit to stay enforcement of the ITC's Exclusion Order.