US gov't investigating PS3's Blu-ray

Sony named in International Trade Commission inquiry into allegations of patent infringement on the console's light-emitting diodes.

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In February, HD DVD creator Toshiba officially called an armistice in the high-definition video playback wars, saying it would cease production of its format standard and let it fade into obscurity alongside Sony's Betamax. While Toshiba's pullout defaulted the victory in the HD disc war to the Sony spearheaded Blu-ray Disc Association, skirmishes surrounding the format linger on.

The US International Trade Commission said this week that it will be launching a patent infringement investigation of "certain short-wavelength light emitting diodes, laser diodes, and products containing same." Parties named in the investigation include Blu-ray creator Sony, along with 30 other top electronics manufactures, including Nokia, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Pioneer, and Hitachi.

The investigation stems from a complaint filed by Gertrude Neumark Rothschild on February 20. Rothschild claims diodes currently imported for use in "hand-held mobile devices, instrument panels, billboards, traffic lights, HD DVD players (e.g., Blu-ray Disc players), and data storage devices" infringe upon one of her patents, and thus are in violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. As such, Rothschild is requesting that the US trade body issue exclusion and cease and desist orders to all companies named in the investigation.

Sony had not responded to requests for comment on the investigation as of press time.

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