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Obama Helps Vizio Buy Time on Infringement Ruling

Barack Obama’s popularity likely will remain high with HD manufacturer Vizio – largely for what the new President has not done. The upstart HD set maker knew by June 10 that, for now at least, it will not have to endure a logistical (and likely financial) nightmare in the months ahead that could have required temporarily ceasing all HD sales of the Vizio, Olevia and Envision brands within the United States.

Vizio, which led in North American HD set shipments for the first quarter of 2009, had its wish granted to delay a pending order from the International Trade Commission that the company stop importing TV sets to America because it may have infringed on a patent of an HD competitor, Funai Electric.

The legal stay, in effect, places on-hold the ITC’s decision made in April that Vizio and others were infringing on Funai’s patent after Obama —who had 60 days to review (and/or revise) the ITC’s order — chose to do nothing by the deadline (June 9).

Vizio has now bought additional time (legally speaking) to appeal the ITC ruling in federal court and try to convince a judge that Funai’s infringement claims are baseless because, among other things, it says the chipset technology in question is no longer in use.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, for its part, has sided in the dispute with Vizio.