Carclo seeks damages over alleged US patent breach

The fleibility of XSense.
The fleibility of XSense.
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CARCLO has launched High Court proceedings against a US firm which it claims has breached patents for its touch screen sensor technology.

The Ossett, West Yorkshire-based group, said Texas firm Uni-Pixel Displays Inc has breached its contract, confidence and patent entitlement.

It issued proceedings in the UK against the engineered films company in June, and they were served this month. It is claiming damages and seeking an injunction to force Uni-Pixel to halt UK sales.

Carclo designs and makes touch screen technology for mobile phones and tablet PCs through its Conductive Inkjet Technology (CIT) arm.

It said: “The basis of the claim is CIT’s belief that Uni-Pixel has made unauthorised use of confidential CIT know-how, relating to the formulation and use of catalytic inks and metallisation technology in touch screen applications, in the development of its own metal mesh process and products (which it calls UniBoss) and related patents it has filed (or been issued) on these processes.”

Carclo said CIT’s know-how in that field was disclosed to Uni-Pixel as part of a project with a development partner, but added it only permitted Uni-Pixel to use that knowledge in a different field of use, unrelated to touch screen sensors.

CIT started working with Uni-Pixel in 2006.

“CIT believes that Uni-Pixel has breached the restrictions imposed in respect of its use of that know-how,” it said.

“CIT is seeking injunctive relief against Uni-Pixel to deprive it of the unfair head-start in its development efforts which CIT believes it to have gained from unauthorised use of CIT know-how, plus damages.”

According to Uni-Pixel’s website, its patent-pending UniBoss process “uses a high-fidelity manufacturing process to create complex micro-structures that enable revolutionary new electronic printed circuits such as antennas and sensors”.

It added: “UniPixel can dramatically simplify and reduce the complexity, cost and risk of manufacturing touch-panels and other electronic circuit applications”.

Carclo’s CIT lays fine lines of copper to create considerably cheaper and thinner touch screens than those made using the conventional indium tin oxide.

It has signed an exclusive 10-year deal with Atmel Corporation, the semi-conductor manufacturer, to launch XSense touchscreen sensors.

Carclo’s technology allows developers to make larger, lighter, less power-hungry, sleeker designs for smartphones, tablets and other products.

Separately, Carclo said mass production of CIT touch sensors started this month, triggering a $10m (£6.1m) payment from Atmel.

Uni-Pixel declined to comment.