The heat is on
InterVideo steps up pressure on Dell - and other firms - over alleged infringements of its US patent covering fast-booting, Linux-based InstantON technology that allows PCs to be instantly ready to play music or videos or tune in to TV or radio
Following InterVideo's move in August to sue Dell in the US District Court of Northern California over alleged infringements of its US Patent No.6,765,788 (Method and apparatus for integrating personal computer and electronic device functions), the issue has now also been put into the more powerful hands of the US International Trade Commission.
Significantly, Intervideo's complaint to the USITC covers alleged patent-breaches not only by Dell but also by Winbook Computer and CyberLink.
More significant still, if the complaint is upheld by the commission, the result will be wide-ranging import bans affecting more than just the corporations named.
Such bans can only be overturned by the US President or the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Court - and the mere threat of them is likely to force many companies into licensing negotiations with InterVideo.
InterVideo's InstantON technology always had the potential to be a money-spinner and that's why the company previously moved against other firms (successfully, its says), including the manufacturing giant Acer.
If the patent can continue to be protected and quickly licensed, InterVideo stands to earn large amounts of money. The Linux-based InstantON technology - or something like it - will be one of the key factors in the speedy growth of media-centre PCs. Using InterVideo's technology, a PC is said to boot up in about 10secs - far quicker than booting normally into current versions of Windows - so there's no lengthy wait while the PC readies itself to play CDs and DVDs, access video clips or TV channels or tune in to radio stations.
And, that could make a big difference in speed of evolution by which PCs are transformed into consumer electronics product that can live alongside AV systems in living-rooms, bedrooms and studies - or completely replace them.
But, InterVideo will have to be quick if it wants to make the most from its patent - Vista, the new version of Windows, is around the corner...