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Tuesday, May 11, 2004
 S. Korean MP3 Player maker wins patent lawsuits
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Message Text: South Korean MP3 player maker MPMan.com said it has won three patent lawsuits filed by a group of domestic portable audio device companies.

The victory, which came after a court battle lasting three years, is expected to set the stage for MPMan.com to collect royalties from local and foreign firms which use the Seoul-based company's system of making portable MP3 music players, according to Lee Sang-chan, a patent attorney who represents the company.

Founded in 2000, MPMan.com was the first in the world to commercialize the portable music player that enables users to listen to MP3 music files, a popular audio compression format on the Internet.

The company won patents for its technology, which allows users to store songs on their portable devices, in early 2001 in South Korea and last year in the United States and China.

But, the Korea Portable Audio Consortium filed the suits, claiming that MPMan.com's patents were invalid, the company said.

Last July, MPMan.com collapsed under the weight of heavy debts and the company has been under court receivership since then.

The ruling came at a time of talks with ReignCom Ltd., a local MP3 maker which has named a prior negotiator to buy MPMan.com.

ReignCom, which ranks as the world's largest maker of portable MP3 players, is itself one of members of the consortium.

Growing attention is being given to the ruling's affect on the negotiations, analysts said.

An official at ReignCom said the company, along with its peers in the consortium, has decided to appeal.
 
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