By Andrew Liszewski
I’ve been following the development of SEDs (surface-conduction electron-emitter display) for I don’t know how long, but unfortunately in recent years most of the news has been regarding a court battle between Canon and Applied Nanotech Holdings which has completely hindered the development of the new display technology. However, last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit delivered some good news for Canon which could put SED development back on track.
The appeals court in part affirmed, and in part reversed, the rulings of the district court. While the appeals court accepted, without deciding, the district court’s decision that SED, Inc. as originally formed did not qualify as a Canon subsidiary, and that Canon had materially breached the contract, it found that termination of the license agreement was not an appropriate remedy. The appeals court also ruled that the restructured SED, Inc., which is 100% owned by Canon, now qualifies as a Canon subsidiary. The appeals court denied Applied Nanotech’s appeal that the district court had improperly excluded certain evidence from the trial. The decision reinstates Canon’s non-exclusive license to substantially all of Applied Nanotech’s field emission patents, excluding certain display applications.
For the longest time I dragged my feet on upgrading to an HDTV because I’m not exactly thrilled with either LCD or Plasma technology. But then SEDs came along and promised all of the benefits of CRTs with the small footprint of a flat-panel display. Hooray! I of course realized it would take a few years for SEDs to start appearing in stores, and a few more years for them to become reasonably priced, but I was willing to wait it out. Unfortunately though my dreams were dashed when this court battle got underway, and it became rather apparent that I wouldn’t be getting my hands on an SED TV anytime soon. So hopefully last week’s court decision will mean I can (cautiously) rekindle my SED dreams.