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Philips hard hit by CD patent expiry

AMSTERDAM, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Philips Electronics NV, co-developer of the compact disc, will suffer a heavy financial blow when CD patents expire this summer in most of Asia and Europe, a Dutch newspaper reported on Thursday. The patents' expiry will cost Europe's biggest electronics company 100-200 million guilders ($43-86 million) in profit per year, evening newspaper NRC Handelsblad said.

The NRC quoted analysts as saying Philips earned more than 60 percent of the patent income on compact discs, with co-developer Sony of Japan the rest.

Many patents were applied for in summer 1981 and ran for 20 years, the paper said. Philips would continue to earn from later patents on specific CD production methods and CD-ROMs.

The Dutch company could partially compensate its lost CD patent income with earnings from recently gained patents on DVDs (digital versatile discs), NRC Handelsblad said.

No one at Philips could be reached for comment.




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