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SED TV On Hold Due To Legal Action

By David Richards | Friday | 22/12/2006

The new Toshiba and Canon SED flat screen TV technology will not be shown at this year's CES following admissions by Canon that they have been sued over the ownership of the technology.

It appears that there is an ongoing lawsuit between Canon and Nano-Proprietary according to an executive at Nano-Proprietary, whose Applied Nanotech subsidiary licensed technology to Canon to manufacture SED TVs.

Sources claim that both Canon and Toshiba are desperate to resolve the problem as billions are resting on the outcome. The claims over ownership and the price Canon will have to pay for access to the technology developed into a lawsuit between Nano-Proprietary and Canon when the two Companies failed to reach agreement.

 SED stands for surface conduction electron emitter display which Canon and Toshiba claim will provide a better picture than LCD (liquid crystal display) or plasma. It is also cheaper to manufacture than LCD or Plasma technology.

The technology that was first shown at the CES show 2 years ago has had a problematic history. Toshiba and Canon first started working together on SED in 1999 and at the 2004 CES show executives of both Companies claimed that the technology would be released by early 2006. This was then moved to early 2007. No there is no firm date.

 In October 2006 Toshiba claimed that the first 55" SED TV would come out in late 2007.

According to ZDNet the delays, according to analysts and competitors, have hurt the chance for SED to secure a place in the market. Prices for LCD TVs and plasmas have been dropping rapidly over the past few years and often faster than expected, while sales have climbed. Competitors thus allege that SED will be too expensive, despite manufacturing advances, to compete effectively.

Toshiba did not state whether the cancellation at the show will affect the release date of the first SED TVs. Nonetheless, analysts and competitors will now likely begin to speculate on another delay as a result of the cancellation.

A Toshiba representative declined to explain the reason for the cancellation, but a note sent to people with appointments to see the SED TV at CES said it wasn't due to technical issues.

"The reason is neither a technical nor business issue, but we are not allowed to disclose details due to confidentiality obligation," the note read. "Toshiba further believes that the issue will be resolved soon, and then we will be able to come back to the U.S. for a 55-inch SED demo."

The delay is related to an ongoing lawsuit between Canon and Nano-Proprietary, according to a source that works with Nano-Proprietary, whose Applied Nanotech subsidiary licensed technology to Canon relating to SED TVs. The deal subsequently devolved into a lawsuit. Nano-Proprietary and Canon are now in closed-door settlement talks.

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