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Ampex, Sony settle patent row

As part of the deal, Sony will spend $40 million through April 2006 to license Ampex-patented technology.

Ampex and Sony have settled a patent dispute over digital-camera technology, Ampex said Monday.

As part of the deal, Redwood City, Calif.-based Ampex will withdraw complaints filed with the International Trade Commission and in a federal court in Delaware, the company said. In return, Sony will license Ampex-patented technology for making digital videotape recorders and digital still cameras.

Sony will pay $40 million for the period through April 2006. After that, royalties will be based on sales, Ampex said. Sony will pay the fees starting with the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2004.

Ampex also said that it has recently licensed its technologies to digital camera makers Canon and Sanyo and that it is currently negotiating with other makers of cameras and cell phones.

Last month, Ampex filed litigation against Eastman Kodak for allegedly infringing on one of its digital camera patents. Sony and Kodak are locked in a separate legal battle over alleged violation of Kodak's digital-imaging patents.

According to recent IDC data, Sony leads the market for digital cameras with 20 percent share, and Kodak follows closely with 19.8 percent share.