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SanDisk busted at IFA, forced to take down display DAPs

Evan Blass
09.04.06
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Now we've never actually manufactured a product ourselves, but if we had, and we were showing off said product at a major European trade show, we'd be mighty embarrassed if a bunch of lawyer-types showed up at our expensive booth and told us to stash the goods out of public view. Well apparently that's exactly what happened to Sansa-manufacturer SanDisk over the weekend at Berlin's IFA exhibition, after an Italian patent management company called Sisvel convinced a German prosecutor to issue an injunction against the US's number two DAP seller. No surprises here, but the beef that Sisvel has with SanDisk centers around certain MPEG audio patents that many big-name companies -- including Apple, Archos, and Creative, to name just three of over 600 -- have taken seriously enough to license, with SanDisk being the one notable exception. SanDisk and Sisvel are already locked in heated legal battles in several large countries, and until the courts pick a winner or SanDisk decides to pay up, Sisvel wants to make sure that they can only show pictures of their products at events like IFA -- not exactly the best way to impress potential buyers. If we were SanDisk in this situation, we might take a page out of iPod Shuffle knockoff manufacturer Luxpro's book -- you know, the ripoff artists who got busted by Apple legal at CeBIT -- and comply just long enough for the hired guns to leave the building, followed by a mad dash to put the players back up on their displays and put our big fake sales grins back on our faces.

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