German police raid 50 more CeBIT exhibitors

Further patent raids seize phones, screens, GPS units

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By  Quintin Smith Published  March 10, 2008

180 Berlin police officers and customs officials have investigated 50 more CeBIT stands after Italian firm Sisvel filed patent complaints over a shared mp3 codec.

Sisvel claimed to be filing the complaints on behalf of bigger companies, including Philips and France Telecom.

The police investigations have been targeted largely at East-Asian companies from China and Taiwan. Companies from the Netherlands, Poland, Hong Kong and South Korea were also affected.

The police did not name any of the companies concerned, though nine people had their identities taken and one exhibitor resisted the search and was taken to a police station.

The German police force said of the raids: "the background is the number that has been rising for years of criminal complaints by the holders of patent rights in the run-up to CeBIT."

The officials filled 68 boxes with documents and gadgets from the stands, including phones, GPS units and flatscreen devices.

The recent investigations were foreshadowed by the police’ raid on Chinese company Meizu earlier in the event. It was initially assumed that Meizu were under suspicion due to their prototype of their MiniOne touchphone, which bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s iPhone. However, it was a device from their range of mp3 players that the officials were interested in.

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