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Legal Action Threatened Over Touch Screens

Legal Action Threatened Over Touch Screens

Radio automation suppliers are keeping relatively tight-lipped on their plans to reply to a legal complaint alleging patent infringement. The matter came to the attention of the industry this week when a copy of a letter to the vendors was circulated to the industry trade press.
The letter is addressed to five companies: Radio Computing Services, Broadcast Electronics, Prophet Systems Innovations/Clear Channel, Broadcast Software International/Cumulus and ENCO Systems.
The May 9 letter is from a law firm representing Media Digital Corp. and John Connell, formerly of MediaTouch, who is listed as co-inventor of the “Computer Touch Screen Radio Station Control System” patent. The patent was issued in 2000 and originally filed 10 years earlier. The other inventors listed are Dennis Mills, Doug Cyr and Norman Buck, but they are not mentioned in the letter.
The letter urges the five broadcast equipment companies to settle the matter without litigation, but states the company is prepared to proceed with a complaint it has already filed in a Texas court.
It also states that Media Digital recently asserted the patent against “a major supplier of touchscreen equipment in the radio broadcasting industry” and said that “that litigation was quickly resolved and the supplier is now a licensee” of the patent.
“We are willing to discuss a similar arrangement with you,” it states.
The letter came to the industry’s attention when another automation vendor, Scott Studios Corp., distributed a copy to the press with a cover note stating that Scott “denies infringing on the Media Digital patent, but a royalty arrangement was worked out.”
Company President Dave Scott stated that no suit had been brought against Scott Studios nor its sister company Computer Concepts.
Contacted by Radio World for reaction, RCS, BE and ENCO Systems declined to comment. The other vendors did not reply.