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SanDisk Players Seized Over Licensing Dispute

SanDisk doesn't have much to display at its IFA show booth in Berlin after German officials seized its MP3 players on Monday. The Digital Lifestyles reports that German officials took all of the MP3 players from SanDisk's booth after the Italian patents firm Sisvel was awarded an injunction against the company.

Sisvel alleges that SanDisk has refused to pay licensing fees in order to play back MP3 files on its music players. There are about 600 other companies, including Apple Computer, already paying licensing fees for MP3 playback.

SanDisk doesn't have much to show at IFA.

SanDisk contends that it is using a different technology to play back MP3 files, and that it isn't subject to Sisvel's licensing.

Giustino de Sanctis, the head of Audio MPEG, Sisvel's U.S. based subsidiary, told the BBC that if a player supports the MP3 standard, the manufacturer is required to purchase a license. "By definition you have to follow the standard," he said. "It is just not possible to do it any other way."

The MP3 standard for audio compression was developed in the 1990s by a group of companies and institutes. Patent licensing for the group is managed by Sisvel and another firm, Thomson.

[Image courtesy of Digital Lifestyles]

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