Honeywell sues Apple, 33 others over LCD patent

Honeywell on Wednesday announced that it has filed suit against Apple and 33 other companies for alleged patent infringement over a technology that "increases the brightness of images and that reduces the appearance of certain interference effects on a liquid crystal display (LCD)," according to a statement released today.

A spokesman for Honeywell told MacCentral that the United States patent in question is number 5,280,371. Filed on July 9, 1992 and granted on January 18, 1994, the patent describes a "directional diffuser for a liquid crystal display." The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the district of Delaware. Honeywell is asking for monetary damages and an injunction to prohibit the companies named in the suit from selling products that infringe Honeywell's patent.

With the exception of the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)-based eMac, LCDs are used throughout Apple's product line -- its iMac, iBook and PowerBook systems all use LCD displays, and Apple also sells flat-panel LCD displays for use with its Power Mac line as well. It is unclear as MacCentral posted this story as to which Apple products Honeywell specifically alleges violate the patent. Honeywell's suit says that its patented technology is being used in everything from notebook computers to cell phones, personal digital assistants, portable DVD players, portable LCD TVs, video game systems and digital still cameras.

Honeywell says that prominent LCD makers LG.Philips LCD and Samsung Electronics Co. are already licensees of its patent. Other companies named in the suit include Audiovox, Casio, Dell, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc., Nikon, Olympus, Sony and Toshiba.

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