Nikon to pay Honeywell to settle patent row

Friday 21 August 1992 23:02 BST

TOKYO (Reuter) - Nikon, the Japanese camera company, has agreed to pay Honeywell of the United States an undisclosed amount as settlement for alleged patent breaches of auto-focus technology.

Nikon will also pay royalty fees for use of the patent. It will raise funds for the payment via the sale of fixed assets and securities.

According to a Jiji Press report, Nikon, which has contracted with Honeywell to have access to its auto-focus patent until 1995, will pay Honeywell damages totalling dollars 45m ( pounds 23.3m) to settle the claim. Nikon's rival, Minolta, paid Honeywell dollars 127.5m ( pounds 66m) to settle similar claims.

Nikon said the settlement was not an admission of guilt. 'Our payment to Honeywell is simply a settlement to end a dispute. It doesn't mean we've admitted violating Honeywell's patents,' Shigeo Ono, senior managing director, told a news conference.

In return for the payment, Honeywell will withdraw the suit it filed against Nikon in March in a US court. 'We're not very satisfied with (the payments), since they are more than we had originally expected,' Mr Ono said.

A Nikon spokesman said the settlement was not expected to damage earnings in the current period. Nikon forecast a Y2bn ( pounds 8m) pre-tax profit on revenue of Y270bn ( pounds 1.1bn) in the year to March 1993. However, industry analysts were not so optimistic. 'The payments will certainly have an impact on Nikon's profitability. It's a company that's already suffering from slumping demand and strong competition,' one stockbroker's analyst said.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in