Stellar Startup: Goliath – then and now

Stellar Startup: Goliath – then and now

Aug 26, 2007 8:37 | Updated Aug 26, 2007 8:37
By DAVID SHAMAH

In
the old days, Goliath would go out in the field, ranting and raving
about how he was the big, bad giant on the block that no one could beat
– and how anyone who tried would find themselves in a world of hurt. It
took David, armed with nothing more than bravery, perseverance and a
slingshot to put him in his place.


ILAN BEN DAVID shows up Genoa’s ColorPeak technology.
Photo: Courtesy Photo

Modern
day Goliaths, however, use a different tactic when they want to push
around a David – in this case, Ilan Ben David, CEO of Genoa
Technologies (http://www.genoacolor.com),
one of Israel’s – and the world’s -most innovative developers of TV
color enhancement technology. Ben David’s Goliaths – in the form of
multinational electronics producers Mitsubishi
and Samsung – are using technology developed by Genoa without bothering
to pay the company licensing fees. And, they think they can get away
with it, Ben David says, because the corporate giants don’t believe a
small, Israeli start-up will be able to stand a long, drawn-out
lawsuit, with Genoa folding long before the courts decide the patent
infringement case.

But that’s where these Goliaths are wrong, Ben David says. "We are in this litigation to vigorously protect our intellectual property resources, no matter how long it takes," he says.

Just what is so great about Genoa’s TV technology that would
drive two otherwise responsible members of the electronics industry to
bend the rules, according to Ben David? Just arguably the most
important new development in color TV since the thing was invented in
the 1940s (and itself the subject of another patent fight)!

Regular color TVs – including the LCD versions, which, Ben
David says, will be found in more and more homes over the next few
years as prices come down – can only show a limited range of the
"cinema gamut," the real-life colors of the human experience. This is
because they utilize only RGB (Red, Green, Blue) display technology.
Genoa’s ColorPeak technology goes RGB two better, by adding yellow and
cyan as enhancements to the broadcast picture. The result? A brighter,
warmer, more appealing picture that enhances the TV viewing experience.

Even more so, ColorPeak enhances the TV buying experience

"When consumers watch TV at home, they’re not as aware of how
well the color on the screen compares to real-life color of the same
scene, because most don’t have ‘color memory,’ meaning they don’t
remember how clear or sharp scenes are. But they can tell the
difference in the store when they go out an buy a TV," Ben David says.
Any TV set equipped with Genoa’s ColorPeak technology is going to be a
clear winner at the store, "because the differences between TVs is very
apparent," he adds.

How does Genoa do it? Among the innovations ColorPeak utilizes
is an enhancement of the yellow band in the color spectrum – a color
that RGB only addresses as a blend, equal in weight to other colors.
According to Ben David, the human (and animal, for that matter) psyche
responds to yellow on a very basic emotional level, with anything
tinted with the color emoting a warm feeling. Thus, Genoa’s technology
not only expands the range of the cinema gamut, it emphasizes the
colors that most appeal to people’s emotions, making the display they
see in the store feel "homier" – thus making it more likely that they
will plunk their money down and take the TV home.

Because of its "form factors" – the thinness of the screen, as
well as its size versatility, with displays as small as two inches and
as large as 118 inches, LCD has now become the standard display for TV
– as well as almost any other device with displays, such as cell phones
and laptops, most of which already sport LCDs. The LCD market has been
growing exponentially for the past four years, and by the end of the
decade, at least 160 million units will be shipped annually. And maybe
more, Ben David says, because with LCDs so versatile, "it’s very likely
that the replacement factor of LCDs to CRT TVs, which is what the
projected sales figures for LCDs is based on, could be much higher," as
consumers deploy multiple thin, decorative LCD TVs to replace one or
two bulky CRTs, he says. And since, by definition, all LCDs are
high-definition ready – the debate nowadays is over broadcast standards
– the next battleground is going to be color enhancement, Ben David
says.

Manufacturers, such as Sony, realize this and are ramping up their sets’ color capabilities.

But Genoa is thinking beyond TV. With enhanced brightness one
benefit of the five-color ColorPeak system, why not deploy it on laptop
screens to give users a better, brighter display without consuming
extra battery power.

"While display technology has moved forward by leaps and
bounds, battery technology has remained stagnant, so deploying Genoa’s
technology could backhandedly ‘improve’ battery technology as well,
without having to develop new batteries," Ben David says.

Genoa’s five-color multi-primary color display is a powerful
technology, and the company is looking to license it "wherever it will
improve products," he says. Genoa is even developing its five-color
technique for the next evolution of TV displays – RGB LED backlit sets (http://tinyurl.com/37e9d8).

And while LCDs are a big business,
Ben David hasn’t forgotten the first application Genoa’s technology was
developed for – projection TV, which has a substantial market share in
the TV business, especially among businesses and corporations.
Unfortunately for Genoa, though, neither have Mitsubishi and Samsung,
both of which worked with Genoa when it developed ColorPeak. And thus
the lawsuit: Both companies have developed numerous models of
projection TVs using Genoa’s patented technology, says Ben David – and
have decided that they don’t have to pay licensing fees for the
privilege. With their fleets of full-time lawyers, Ben David says,
their main defense technique is likely to be attrition – awaiting the
day that Genoa and Ben David can’t afford to continue paying lawyers or
keeping their business on hold while the case snakes its way through
adjudication, appeals and even more appeals.

But Ben David says he’s prepared.

"We
didn’t launch the suit until we were sure we could handle it from all
its aspects, including making sure that we had enough money to pay for
lawyers on a long-term basis, if necessary, as well as ensuring that
our core business and technology development do not get bogged down over this," he says.

Like his Biblical namesake, Ben David is coming prepared for battle – and, like the original David, he’s sure he’s going to win.

>BackTrack

Leave a Reply