March 7, 2008

German police: 51 accused of product piracy at CeBIT

German police said Thursday they had raided 51 booths at the CeBIT computing trade show at the prompting of an Italian firm which pursues breaches of audio compression patents. Cellular News reports.

"The day of raids on booths on Wednesday was the biggest crackdown in the history of the annual fair.

Senior prosecutor Hans-Juergen Lendeckel said the mobile phones, screens, sat-navs and other devices as well as advertising brochures seized had filled 68 cartons.

The Italian firm, s.i.sv.el, and its US-based unit say they are charged with enforcing "exclusive worldwide rights" to aspects of the MP3 and MPEG file formats on behalf of big companies including Philips and France Telecom.

It filed complaints in Hanover leading to the searches, which hit companies from China, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands.

"We help patent proprietors to obtain royalties for their intellectual property," said Giustino de Sanctis, chief executive of Audio MPEG, the s.i.sv.el unit.

The company, which describes itself as a patent-management enterprise, has monitored CeBIT exhibitors for several years. "

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