Nano-Proprietary, Inc., through its subsidiary, Applied Nanotech, Inc. (ANI), announced that Japan-based Mitsui & Co., Ltd. has purchased an exclusive option that will allow Mitsui to extend royalty bearing licenses on behalf of NPI to companies headquartered in Japan which will allow the use of NPI's carbon cold cathode intellectual property for the manufacture of lighting devices such as backlights for LCDs. This option is limited in scope as it only applies to lighting in the visible spectrum and does not extend into areas that would allow the devices to be used as pixel elements in an electronic display. Geographic limitations also govern the scope of the agreement.
"This is an exciting relationship for NPI," said Tom Bijou, CEO of NPI. "We have a final proof of concept developed and Mitsui has the manufacturing and distribution channel contacts to move these technologies towards commercial introduction through supporting the licensing and pilot line construction process. LCDs are going to continue to be a dominant display device for the foreseeable future. I have seen industry estimates that the cost of the backlight is 30-38% of the total cost of the display and we have all read about the potential environmental impact from some backlight technologies; obviously the opportunity exists for disruptive technology to be introduced and it could develop into a huge industry as manufacturers search for a solution that does not use mercury in the construction."
Zvi Yaniv, CEO of subsidiary Applied Nanotech, Inc., added, "The fact that Mitsui as a leading company in applications of nanotechnology has entered into an agreement with us further legitimizes our CNT field emission technology and its potential impact on the lighting and display industries."
Under the terms negotiated with Mitsui, a predefined framework for licenses has been defined which include up front payments and ongoing royalties based on sales. This will reduce the time required for negotiation with each potential Licensee.
Mitsui has various extension rights, at escalating fee levels, to maintain the right to grant licenses.
The first technical discussion with a potential manufacturer is scheduled for March at NPI's Austin, TX research center.