The CEO of a leading European technology company has predicted that A-Bus technology used in distributed audio systems will be “obsolete” within 24 months. His comments came after another patent loss for Australian company Leisuretech.This month, Armour Group had another win in its patent fight with Leisuretech, which last year deliberately placed itself into administration in an effort to avoid paying millions in damages and legal fees.
Following an application to the European Patent Office (EPO) over the validity of the Leisuretech-owned A-Bus patent, the Opposition Division of the EPO revoked the A-Bus European patent at a hearing on 10 February 2010.
George Dexter, the CEO of Armour Group, said, “This will be another set-back for Mr Goldfinch in Europe and, whilst he may wish to challenge the decision, this will take around two years to come to court at the EPO, and by then the A-Bus technology will obsolete.”
This successful revocation action comes after the UK High Court revoked the A-Bus patent in the UK on 14th November 2008 following a similar action brought by Armour Group under UK patent law.
Armour Group has been in dispute with LTE, an Australian company, for a number of years over the validity of the A-Bus patent. The dispute related to a patent owned by LTE, which specified a particular method of sending DC power and stereo audio signals down a single CAT-5 cable in the context of a multi-room system.
Armour Group’s Systemline brand has been using a similar method of power and audio transmission over CAT-5 for its Systemline Modular system since the outset, albeit with significant enhancements in the form of balanced line audio and a special DC-to-DC conversion circuit, which guarantees greater energy efficiency and consistency of performance.
Armour Group has always taken the view that LTE’s A-Bus patent as filed lacked substance and was indeed an obvious solution using standard audio integrated circuits and industry standard CAT-5 cable, for which nobody in Armour Group’s view could claim a monopoly.
These two judgements revoking LTE’s A-Bus patent in the UK and Europe completely vindicates the position that Armour Group has taken on the matter.