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Warner courts a suit with inventors of DVD Plus

Posted 30 September 2003 03:53 CET by Crabbyappleton

The Dierks Group, a privately-owned German music and technology group that invented the double-sided CD and DVD, is talking to Warner amid allegations of breach of contract and patent abuse. Recently, Warner announced that they and possibly Sony would team up to produce these enhanced Dual format disks next year. With them they hope to halt the sales slide that the industry has faced in recent years. But Dieter Dierks, a veteran music producer and chairman of the Dierks Group, claims the project could be illegal. The German entrepreneur, who patented the combined disc technology under the name DVD Plus, has written to Warner Music claiming it has licenses over production of such discs and royalty agreements that promise a share of future profits arising from sales by the US group. In April 2000, Warner Music sold rights over its own dual disc technology to Mr Dierks in a deal allowing the US company to manufacture the discs if the technology was perfected, as long as it used the DVD Plus logo. Warner Music officials said that it was determined to press ahead with production of its dual discs in spite of the agreement with Mr Dierks. "There are no patents in the US," according to one person familiar with the situation. "As far as we can tell, the agreement doesn't obligate us other than putting the DVD Plus logo somewhere on the package, and the only royalty issue is in Germany." The Dierks Group and their business partners, understandably feel that they are having their idea hijacked. They believe the investment of their research to make the format work will now not bear the fruit as it may now go for nothing. Source: news.ft.com
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