Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Japan’s Supreme Court Delivers a Landmark Judgment

Japan’s Supreme Court backed a January 2004 high court decision, and asked Hitachi to pay 163 million yen (U.S. $ 1.4 million) to a former employee, Seiji Yonezawa, who invented technology for reading compact discs and digital video discs while working for the Hitachi. However, Hitachi has found the Supreme Court ruling “Regrettable” and likely to hinder the research development and business efforts of Japanese companies. According to Yonezawa’s lawyer, Yonezawa received only 118,000 yen for one of three patents he filed between 1973 and 1977, providing technology to read CDs and DVDs. In the 2004 High Court case, Yonezawa, who retired from Hitachi in 1996, demanded 250 million yen in royalties. Hitachi argued it had already paid him for the patents.

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