Alleging that Compaq manufactured workstations that use unlicensed, patent-protected MPEG-2 video compression standards, six electronics companies and Columbia University have sued the Houston-based original equipment manufacturer.
Filed in US District Court in Delaware, the suit claims Compaq willfully infringed upon 26 patents. Denver-based MPEG LA is an MPEG industry group that has folded more than 275 patents into its MPEG-2 portfolio license.
According to the group, Compaq refuses to get licenses from patent holders to use the MPEG technology in its computers even though the computer maker has been told for the past three years that it needs to do so.
Compaq spokesman Arch Currid would only say his company is investigating the claims and that "we'll vigorously defend the suit."
The plaintiffs include a number of major brand names: General Instrument, Mitsubishi Electric, Philips, JVC, Panasonic, France Telecom – and the trustees of Columbia University.