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Wednesday, October 01, 2003
VIA appeals against Mediatek’s preliminary injunction


The preliminary injunction against VIA Technologies and AOpen, obtained by MediaTek from a US court, was very “disappointing” and VIA filed an appeal earlier today, according to DigiTimes.

According to VIA, the company believes there were flaws in the granting of the preliminary injunction, which is unfair to VIA. The company also reiterated that it has not violated MediaTek’s copyrights or patents, as its competitor has alleged.

Although VIA has received a court notice about the granting of the preliminary injunction, it has yet to receive details about the injunction, which by law should be provided by MediaTek, according to VIA.

VIA made the remarks soon after MediaTek issued a press release yesterday announcing that the federal district court in Los Angeles, California had granted the company’s motion for a preliminary injunction against VIA and AOpen on September 25.

According to MediaTek’s press release, the court’s order bars VIA and AOpen from infringing MediaTek’s copyrights in its CD-ROM controller firmware until there is a full trial, which is scheduled for next year.

The preliminary injunction is effective immediately after its granting, and it covers not only VIA, its subsidiary VIA Optical Solution (VOS) and AOpen, but also all the companies using VIA’s CD-ROM chipset, according to MediaTek spokesperson Mingto Yu.

In response, VIA said it still needs to understand the details before it can make definite comments, but based on its understanding of normal legal practice, the preliminary injunction should not be extended to all of its customers unless MediaTek files separately against them.

The legal battle between the two sides started last year when MediaTek filed a lawsuit against both VIA and AOpen on June 24 in the US District Court for the Southern District of California for violating two of MediaTek’s US patents.

In July of this year, MediaTek also requested the preliminary injunction to cover direct and indirect imports of products using VIA’s CD-ROM firmware, which it alleges violates its copyrights and patents.

Both VIA and AOpen downplayed any possible impact from the injunction. VIA said most of its clients were based in the Asia-Pacific region, and shipments to the American market were limited. In addition, it has made changes to its CD-ROM firmware in a bid to avoid the legal dispute.

AOpen has updated all VIA’s old chipsets in its current CD-ROM products. It is still unclear if the currently shipping products are involved in the case, but if they are, AOpen may consider switching its chipset supplier, said company spokesperson Tony Yang.

“We haven’t received official documents about the injunction, and will decide on the next step only after we get the details,” he said.

According to AOpen, CD-ROMs are no longer key products for the company since they have been gradually replaced by higher-end products like CD-RW, combo, DVD-ROM, and recordable DVD drives.

The latest victory claimed by MediaTek is one in a series of legal battles between MediaTek and VIA. Facing MediaTek’s allegations, VIA has fought back by filing lawsuits against MediaTek both in the US and Taiwan for alleged infringements of DVD-ROM and combo controller patents. In the US complaint, VIA also listed MediaTek’s client Lite-On IT as a plaintiff.


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