Counterfeit components and the touch screen toddlers PART II Jun 26 2017 Electroblog Print Article Jun 26 2017 Electroblog Two breaking news items pinged their way onto my desktop this week that reminded me of a couple of stories Electropages published a few months ago. The first latest news item looked at how the Düsseldorf District Court in Germany handed down judgments in favour of Japanese company Nichia Corporation concerning three preliminary injunctions against Taiwanese company Everlight Electronics for infringement of Nichia’s YAG patent EP 936 682 relative to LED products. This reminded me of an Electropages story headlined: “Hello neighbour, I’ve stolen your product design” that reported on how German relay manufacturer Guner AG, a specialist in polarised latching relays for high currents up to 200A had just finished setting up its exhibition booth at last year’s Electronica event in Munich only to find the neighboring exhibition booth operated by Chinese firm NCR Industrial-Clion Relay was showing plagiarised copies of the Guner relay design. See http://www.electropages.com/2017/01/hello-neighbour-ive-stolen-your-product-design/ The second item of breaking news concerned the endless discussion about how much technology time should children be allowed to have? A worrying question when the only way buggy-aged kids are happy is when they are being wheeled around while they stare in a hypnotic-like trance into the screen of an smart phone or tablet. Counterfeit Conflict Firstly, lets take a look at this recent patent infringement. Counterfeit electronic products are a worldwide business with huge profits for the perpetrators because they can avoid research and development costs and sell at dumping prices. According to a recent report by analysts Ernst & Young, about 70% of all counterfeit products come from Asia. In many cases they are only spotted at exhibitions when manufacturers see their own product designs on a foreign exhibition booth. In this recent Düsseldorf infringement case Everlight had filed opposition against three decisions of preliminary injunctions granted earlier without prior hearing of Everlight by the Düsseldorf District Court (File Nos. 4a O 104/16, 4a O 112/16, 4a O 113/16). The preliminary injunctions were maintained by the court and the court did not have any doubts about the validity of Nichia’s YAG patent with regard to the nullity action of Everlight’s German subsidiary Everlight Electronics Europe GmbH as submitted by Everlight to the court. In its judgment, the Düsseldorf District Court ordered the further enforcement of the preliminary injunctions to be dependent on providing a security in the amount of €250,000 per preliminary injunction. In the meantime, these securities have been provided by Nichia and all three preliminary injunctions were served again on Everlight. The three injunctions are preliminary measures which Everlight can still contest with judicial remedies. Exhibition Ban Continued counterfeit activities and patent infringement does raise a question for exhibition organisers like the Messe Muenchen, organisers of the Electronica show. And that raises the question should known counterfeiting companies be allowed to exhibit at such shows? To allow them to do so has to be extremely unfair to honest exhibiting companies and could be questionable from a legal perspective. Touch screen toddlers Meanwhile the debate on how much tech-time should young kids be allowed rumbles on. See a previous Electropages blog headlined: “Kids technology overload. I blame the parents” http://www.electropages.com/2017/02/kids-technology-overload/ In that story 90% of parents reckon electronic gadgets get in the way of the family spending time together. But going back to that youngster in the buggy entranced by the electronic gadget locked in their grasp, how did it get there? Did they pop into the Apple Store and lash out £500 for a phone or tablet. Of course they didn’t. It got there because the parents find it an easy way of keeping the little darling quiet while inflicting the mind-numbing tedium of shopping mall trips on them. No wonder so many youngsters get hooked on the technology habit. And it’s a life style habit started by the parents. However, the latest item of breaking news that hit my desktop the other day says I could be wrong on this with many parents believing that children should not have smart phones before the age of 11. This is according to a survey of 2,000 UK parents by gadgets and technology retailer LaptopsDirect. According to this report only 12% of parents would allow their child to own a mobile phone under the age of 11. But I question the word own. It still leaves it possible for parents to shove their smart phone into the hands of a recalcitrant child to mollify the little rascal. The report, which researched parents’ attitudes towards owning technology, does reveal that 61% of parents would allow their child to have a smart phone so they could be reached in an emergency. And 70% of parents felt that use of technology from a young age was something children needed to aid their development, with more than half (54%) believing they would start high school behind their peers if they hadn’t had any interaction with technology or gadgets at home. Now those parents may well be right when you consider that it is pretty much impossible for children of school age not to have a computer and Internet access if they are going to be able to handle school studies and homework. As for the parents that reckon their kids wont get a smart phone or tablet until they are 11 then all I have to say is take a look around your local shopping mall or sit on an aircraft heading for a sunny location in the school holidays and like me you’ll be quite happy when a yelling nipper is pacified with a spot of high-tech. We wait with interest the next survey on the saga of kids and the hi-tech world they inhabit and perhaps a response from exhibition organising companies about allowing known counterfeiting companies to exhibit at their shows thereby giving them the opportunity to deceive more customers. By Paul WhytockPaul Whytock is European Editor for Electropages. He has reported extensively on the electronics industry in Europe, the United States and the Far East for over twenty years. Prior to entering journalism he worked as a design engineer with Ford Motor Company at locations in England, Germany, Holland and Belgium.