Nano-Proprietary, Inc. announced late this week that the jury has reached a verdict in its litigation against Canon, Inc. In its verdict, the jury decided that Nano-Proprietary was due no additional damages beyond those already received, which includes the right to keep the $5.5 million
that it originally received and termination of the original license agreement. The jury noted that it's hard to assess damages when no product has yet to be sold. Before the ruling, Tom Bijou, Chief Executive officer of Nano-Proprietary, Inc dropped the Fraud charges before jury deliberated in a goodwill gesture toward Canon. During the pleadings, Canon said that they were going to renegotiate the license and bring SED TV to market in the U.S. Of course, it begs the question, "Will they?"
We have to remember that Nano-Proprietary, Inc. is only a holding company consisting of two wholly owned operating subsidiaries. The first is Applied Nanotech Inc., which is a research and commercialization organization dedicated to developing applications for
nanotechnology with an extremely strong position in the fields of electron emission applications from carbon film/nanotubes, sensors, functionalized nanomaterials, and nanoelectronics. Their other company is Electronic Billboard Technology, Inc. (EBT), which has a financial interest in technology related to electronic digitized sign technology. Nano-Proprietary's website is .
Nano's CEO Bijou issued the following statement on the ruling, "While we are disappointed by the jury's verdict, we need to keep in mind that we already had the most important victory in the case when the Court validated our termination of Canon's license as a result of their material breach of the contract. We were also pleased that during the trial, Canon confirmed its plans to move forward with its SED TV and continue to believe that the advent of field emission display televisions will be a signal event for Nano-Proprietary. We made a significant gesture to Canon during the course of the trial that we hope will provide a framework of cooperation and negotiation for the future. Nothing about today's verdict changes the fact that we have significant intellectual property that we believe will have to be licensed by anybody, including Canon, that wishes to sell televisions based on electron emissions in the broad geographical areas of the world where our IP is in effect. The vast majority of our revenue forecast for 2007 has little to do with televisions. Our growth in the materials and sensor business continues to be one of the drivers of our future."
Theoretically, Canon could still deliver an SED HDTV within six months staying with its original timetable. On the other hand, another company could also license the technology from Nano-Proprietary leaving Canon to look for another display technology such as OLED. And, of course, it still begs the question of Toshiba, and what will they do about an advanced display product.