Displaying typical Canon arrogance Company Chairman Fujio Mitarai has claimed that he expects his company to win a patent-related dispute in the United States and pursue its plan to enter the flat-panel television market.
"I don't think we will lose" in the continuing litigation brought by Nano-Proprietary. Mitarai said during a meeting with analysts in Japan. This is despite the fact that a US recently slammed the Company in a US court hearing. Many analysts tip that Canon will not win the case against Nano-Propietary however there is a chance that Canon may be able to buy their way out of an embarrasing situation which has been caused more by Canon arrogance than good business sense say people close to the case.
According a Canon company spokesman. Texas-based Nano-Proprietary in December cut off its licence agreement with the Japanese electronics giant for trying to share the patents with Toshiba and other firms. Currently Canon and Nano-Proprietary are trying to work out a settlement before the U.S. court rules on damages due to the U.S. firm, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
Canon is set to face massive damages payouts over it's plans to enter the SED TV market. It is also tipped that Canon in Japanese style will find an excuse to suddely say that SED TV is no longer viable a situation that Toshiba welcomes as they plan to continue with SED TV technology, possible with another production partner.
Mitarai said manufacturing cost is another issue for SEDs. "We wouldn't go ahead with SEDs until we are sure we can make the business profitable in three years," he said.
When Canon was sued by Nano-Proprietary two years ago, the dispute was over a patent license that had cost the Japanese electronics giant a one-time payment of $5.6 million.
But now that the lawsuit has caused Canon to lose the license, a fresh agreement with Texas-based Nano-Proprietary Inc. could be worth millions of dollars more, lawyers said.
"It seems strange Canon managed to go all the way to trial and lose," said Peter Godwin, a Tokyo-based partner at law firm Herbert Smith. "Assuming they were advised they were at risk, you'd expect a company of the size of Canon to have reached a settlement before that."
Now, Canon is left with no plans for mass production of the displays. The sale of the new TVs, scheduled for the fourth quarter, will be limited to Japan and on a small scale.
Nano-Proprietary's technology that was licensed to Canon is used for surface-conduction electron-emitter displays (SED) TVs, which are said to have brighter images and consume less energy than existing LCDs and plasma models.
Mitarai also said Canon will focus on developing future technologies in medical, intellectual robots and security, and aim to launch new businesses in those areas after 2010, the spokesman said. Canon reiterated its mid-term earnings targets of 5.5 trillion yen ($46.53 billion) in annual sales on net income of 550 billion yen in 2010.
This year, Canon is aiming for an eighth year of earnings growth, with group sales of 4.45 trillion yen and an operating profit of 765 billion yen.