Japan-based Taiyo Yuden announced last week that it would be downsizing its optical disc production capacity by roughly 40%, as it seeks to restore profitability to the recordable media business it pioneered more than two decades ago.
Taiyo Yuden plans to streamline its production of optical media products to 65 million units per month, down from its current level of 110 million units per month. The company also says it will cut staffing its optical media business by 45%, and reduce its inventory levels by 40% by the end of its fiscal year (March 31, 2011).
The measures will put optical media products unit, which includes recordable CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs, on track to return to profitability by in the next fiscal year, Taiyo Yuden says.
Taiyo Yuden was a key technology contributor to the CD-R format in 1988, when Sony and Philips first published a specification for the format. Today it stands as one of the last remaining optical disc manufacturers in Japan.
More at China Economic News Service, which speculates that Taiyo Yuden‚Äôs restructuring could be an outsourcing boon for Taiwan-based optical media producers such as Ritek and CMC Magnetics.
A divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently held that patent pools may legitimately bar licensees from using or licensing competing technology, handing Philips a victory in its years-long legal battle against recordable CD maker Princo.
Philips ‚ÄĒ which together with Sony licenses CD-R patents as the ‚ÄúOrange Book‚ÄĚ standard ‚ÄĒ issued Princo a license in the late 1990s, but sued the manufacturer at the International Trade Commission after Princo stopped paying royalties. Princo accused Philips of patent misuse, arguing that the Orange Book licensing agreement had anticompetitive effects. The majority of the Federal Circuit found the opposite ‚ÄĒ although two dissenting justices wrote that a patent misuse defense should be available when patent pools effectively seek to suppress alternative technology.
Sean Gates, an antitrust and intellectual property specialist at law firm Morrison & Foerster, gives a comprehensive overview of the case‚Äôs background and ramifications at Lexology. Law.com has responses from the parties and interested trade groups.
Colorado-based MAM-A says it now offers ‚ÄúMade in USA‚ÄĚ versions of its Silver CD-R and DVD-R/+R products, as well as its 24kt Gold Archival CD-R and DVD-R/+R media. The company, which claims to be the last recordable optical disc manufacturer in the U.S., recently completed capacity expansion of its facility in Colorado Springs.
Recordable media maker Maxell Corp. of America is relocating its corporate headquarters from Fair Lawn, NJ, to a nearby facility in Woodland Park, NJ. Maxell says the move, which is scheduled for completion by March 1, positions the company for future growth, fueled by continued success in OEM and branded computer media as well as other markets. Via Business Wire
Paragon Media has installed a new Lamin 6 color off-set disc press in its Seattle facility, with plans to use the press for prerecorded-disc projects as well as custom-printed recordable CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
‚ÄúThere is an emerging market in custom printed recordable discs,‚ÄĚ says Gary Ricci, Paragon‚Äôs VP of Sales. ‚ÄúOver the course of the last 18 months we have seen a serious lift in sales for custom decorated recordable CDs and DVDs that our customers are then using to burn their own content.‚ÄĚ Via PR Web
Memorex and Maxell veteran Michael Golacinski has established KMG Digital for the worldwide sales and marketing of Kodak optical blank media. Eastman Kodak Company announced Jan. 7 its designation of KMG as the exclusive worldwide licensee for Kodak-branded optical blank media products and media accessories. Under the agreement, KMG will market Kodak branded products including recordable CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs, with a focus on office superstores, electronic specialty, discount, and member club stores, as well as strategic online partners. Based in Kodak‚Äôs hometown of Rochester, NY, KMG Digital will also will have worldwide sales and marketing operations in Los Angeles. Via PR Newswire
A group of Canadian recording artists are lobbying the country‚Äôs government to ‚Äúmodernize‚ÄĚ its copyright law by imposing a levy on iPods and other digital recording devices. Canada‚Äôs current ‚Äúprivate recording levy‚ÄĚ on CD-Rs and other blank media provides music rights holders with C$30 million in annual revenue, according to the ‚ÄúSave the Levy‚ÄĚ coalition. Via the Toronto Star
Corona Marketing Group of Tustin, CA will represent Moser Baer India in North America, promoting the company‚Äôs optical storage media products under private-label and DataRight brands. Via PR.com