Toshiba attacks alleged infringement of DVD patents

Toshiba Corp. has launched a two-pronged legal attack on companies it says are breaching its patents on DVD technology.

Toshiba Corp. has launched a two-pronged legal attackon companies it says are breaching its patents on DVD technology.

TheTokyo-based company announced Monday that it filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking to block imports into the U.S. ofDVDs and related technology from 17 companies.

It also said it began a U.S. lawsuit against the same17 companies, asking for an undisclosed amount of money and orders barring the companies from producing, importing and selling products using Toshiba technology in the U.S.

"The infringement of Toshiba's patents by these companies has damaged Toshiba's DVD-related business, and also caused damage to the legitimate and licensed DVD product manufacturing and distribution and business as a whole," Toshiba said in a statement.

Toshiba filedthe complaint and lawsuit on Friday. Most of the17 companies are manufacturers and importers based in Hong Kong and China.

Toshiba saidit licenses patents essential for meeting DVD format specifications. "The 17 companies named in the complaint and the lawsuit do not have license agreements with Toshiba," nor with the DVD6C Licensing Group2, an industry body representing nine DVD companies that licenses DVD patents.

Without the licences, the 17 companies "have engaged in the importation and sale of DVD products without permission."

Toshiba began its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Toshiba spokeswoman Yuko Sugahara declined to comment on the damage amount.

The commission is an independent U.S. federal agency that checks on unfair trade practices and copyright infringements.

The target companies include Daewoo Electronics America Inc., Dongguan GVG Digital Technology of China and Star Light Electronics Co. of Hong Kong.

Daewoo Electronics Corp. in Seoul had no comment, said company spokesman Gwon Dae.

In Hong Kong, Star Light officials weren't immediately available for comment, while GVG office didn't immediately return calls.

With files from the Associated Press