updated 04:35 pm EDT, Mon May 23, 2005
DVForge announced today that it is not going to be able to sell the previously announced , because of a disagreement with DLO (Digital Lifestyle Outfitters) over a patent that they hold. The device is an in-car holder, charger, and FM stereo transmitter for the iPod. "We have been informed by DLO that they consider our PodBuddy to be an infringement of their company's U.S. patent #6,591,085, and, that they will file suit against us, if we launch the PodBuddy," said CEO Jack Campbell. "We disagree with DLO's claim, and, we believe that our PodBuddy is so utterly different from their company's TransPod product that there can be no question of infringement. But, we are not able to fund the sort of protracted legal battle that would be required to prove our point in court. So, we are forced to kill the PodBuddy."
Campbell said his company offered to sell the PodBuddy FM to DLO. Jeff Grady, owner of DLO, reportedly told Campbell his company was not interested. "I have offered him all of our development work, prototypes, production tooling, intellectual property releases, several purchase orders we have here from national buyers, and, our entire list of email inquiries from folks like you. Our price to Jeff?... only the $23,000 we have invested in just the hard injection mold tooling. His answer?... No way. He is not interested."
"My statement to Jeff was that the PodBuddy would likely sell about five times as many units as his TransPod. And, that, if we can't build it, then he should build it. After all, he's the one using a patent to keep a better, more desirable competitive product off the market. It seems to make sense to just let the guy have it, if he's so scared of the PodBuddy walloping his TransPod in the marketplace. I would rather do that than have thousands of our customers disappointed, and, see such a terrific product just die."
Campbell suggests users contact Digital Lifestyle Outfitters and request that they manufacture the PodBuddy FM.