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*April 6, 2005 *— Ampex Corporation announced today that it signed another $3 million settlement — this time with Casio and Samsung. Both manufacturers join a long list of digital camera makers who have recently forked over millions to the California tech firm and will continue to pay royalties based on the sales of their products. Casio and Samsung will begin paying royalties after the first fiscal quarter of 2006.
The terms of the agreement are confidential, but the license involves digital compression technology that Ampex developed years ago and is only now making profits on. The technology involves video and still image compression and the process that is used to store and retrieve the images. The patents have an 8-year life span; they expire between 2006 and 2014. The technology is being used in more than just digital cameras too. It's in camcorders, camera phones, and even DVDs. Ampex is planning on more litigations and more settlements; so far, its track record has been successful.
In the past six months, Ampex signed deals with several digital camera manufacturers, including $3 million from Olympus, $40 million from Sony, a combined $5.5 million from Pentax, Panasonic and JVC, as well as $25 million from Sanyo and Canon. On top of these lump sums, all of these companies must pay running royalties to Ampex for use of its patents. Ampex began litigations with Eastman Kodak Company in October 2004; that case is still in limbo.
The lawsuits and resultant money has been healthy for Ampex Corporations stocks, which sold for about $2 per share in October and rose to about $55 a share in March before opening at $39 this morning at the American Stock Exchange.