SAN JOSE – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is sponsoring a free, two-day seminar on protecting IP abroad. Piracy and counterfeiting cost the American economy approximately $250 billion annually, the U.S. PTO says.

The event, China Road Show: Protecting Your Intellectual Property in China & the Global Marketplace, takes place Nov. 7-8, in San Jose.

The program will cover IP theft and protection, product and part counterfeiting. It also will include comprehensive coverage of enforcement strategies against IP theft from China. Presenters include the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The program is for any company that wants to learn about protecting its products from counterfeiting and piracy – even those companies that have no plans to sell or manufacture their products in China.

Among the speakers are Tom Valliere of Design Chain Associates, Fairchild Semiconductor's legal counsel, and Debra Eggeman, general manager of the Independent Distributors of Electronics Association.
WASHINGTON – Durable goods orders fell in September for the second straight month, the Commerce Department reported today. Orders dropped 1.7% after dropping 5.3% in August, the first back-to-back declines in more than a year, on lower demand for autos, computers and electronics products, among other items.
 
Most economists felt orders would rise, and blame is being attributed to housing finance and other credit problems.
 
Durables are defined as manufactured goods that have a life of at least three years.

EL SEGUNDO, CA – If you thought the 32" plasma display panel had been relegated to the annals of consumer electronics history, think again, iSuppli Corp. says.

In the second quarter, LG Electronics brought the 32" VGA-resolution PDP back to meet rising demand spurred by constrained supplies of LCD-TV panels of the same size. The reintroduction of the 32" size comes as a shift in direction for the PDP market, which has been focusing on large 40" to 44" and 50" to 59" panels, says the research firm.

iSuppli forecasts the global 34" and smaller PDP market will grow to 485,000 units by 2011, up from 400,000 units shipped in 2007. (No units were shipped in 2006.) While this volume and growth are not huge, they are enough to justify the market reintroduction by LG Electronics. The other panel makers are likely to follow should LG succeed, iSuppli believes.

Plunging prices are making PDPs more competitive at the 32" size. The average selling price for PDP panels sized 34" and smaller will decline to $124 by 2011, down from $215 in 2007. The ASP for 2006 is not available, given that PDP vendors didn’t sell any panels at the 34" and smaller size.

However, the PDP suppliers now face the same obstacle they did when the 32" PDP was in vogue in the 2004/2005 time frame: The VGA resolution of such panels delivers a far lower picture quality than that of a same-sized LCD, says iSuppli.

Despite this, LG’s gambit is already showing some success in the Chinese market thanks to the attractive price point.

While PDP panels are making a return in a size long thought dead, plasma systems actually are enjoying sales growth in the business market. One of the biggest reasons for this growth is that the declining ASP of PDPs makes them compelling for the conference room and education markets. A growing number of PDP displays are being sold as replacements for projectors in conference rooms, for corporate training rooms and lecture halls to accommodate a larger number of audience members, according to iSuppli.

The hospitality industry and those who maintain signage in indoor arenas also are taking advantage of the lower prices to upgrade picture quality and capitalize on plasma’s appealing form factor.

Emerging uses arising for plasma systems include rental and staging markets; video walls, using 84" and larger PDPs; transportation, financial exchanges and control rooms.
 
Affordable pricing and an attractive form factor also are reasons why PDP system sales are still growing in the consumer market, although at a far more moderate pace than LCDs. The 50" PDPs are available for less than $2,000, and 42" inch models can be bought for $1,000 to $1,500, says iSuppli. The pricing factor has bolstered PDP sales, despite the recent price reductions and higher resolutions for LCDs.
 
BEIJING – Increasing demand in end-user markets is a key factor driving the growth of the Chinese flame retardant chemicals market, says Frost & Sullivan. China’s economy is booming and the effects of this are spilling over into many of its key industries, including those of chemicals and plastics. Plastics additives – in particular, flame retardant chemicals – are benefiting from this boom and witnessing increasing demand from a wide range of end-user markets, the research firm reports.
 
Frost’s report, China Flame Retardant Chemicals Market, reveals the total unit shipment of the market was around 529,500 tons in 2005 and estimates this to reach 810,100 tons in 2012.
 
“China has increasingly become the global production base for electronic products and a key region for consumption of plastics,” notes industry analyst Dan Xu. “The increase in demand for electric and electronic equipment, as well as ongoing development of the building and construction and automotive industries, spell good news for the growth of the Chinese flame-retardant chemicals market.”
 
Halogenated products have traditionally dominated the market and accounted for almost 90% share in unit terms, says Frost. Of these, chlorinated and brominated flame retardants continue to experience significant demand because of their superior performance, especially with regard to achieving high fire safety standards in low concentrations.
 
However, concerns have recently surfaced about the environment friendliness of halogenated products, leading to the introduction of numerous directives such as RoHS and WEEE.
 
“The fear that halogen compounds are not environment-friendly has contributed to the decline in demand for brominated flame retardants,” says Xu. “Under regulatory pressure to phase out the use of these chemicals, some end users are opting to use non-brominated flame retardants instead.”
 
There has also been a spurt in research activity in the attempt to minimize brominated products or replace them entirely with more environmentally safe products such as mineral or phosphate flame retardants. Chemical manufacturers could also consider developing more eco-friendly brominated flame retardants, likely to be attractive to OEMs, says Frost.
 
For the moment, however, halogenated products are likely to retain their dominant position as there is no known alternative that can match their performance benefits, efficiency, and cost effectiveness. Even though phosphate flame retardants, especially non-halogenated ones, are considered more environment friendly, they are not as cost effective because of less flame retardancy and the need for a higher loading level, the research firm suggests.
 
This has hindered their uptake and application in the Chinese market. Current market trends continue to favor chlorinated and brominated flame retardants, with many consumers preferring the addition of these flame retardants in a variety of applications, frost concludes.
EL SEGUNDO, CANokia increased its mobile phone unit shipments in the third quarter by more than the total second-quarter shipments of Fujitsu, Ningbo Bird, TCL-Alcatel, Panasonic, Pantech & Curitel, and UTStarcom combined – and more than the collective increases in shipments from the other four top mobile-handset suppliers in the third quarter.

Nokia’s global mobile-handset shipments rose by a stunning 10.9 million units compared to the second quarter, says iSuppli Corp. The sales leader increased its shipments to 111.7 million units, up 10.8% sequentially. This gave the company a global market share of 39.5%, up from 37.9% in the second quarter.

“The company’s shipments of ‘convergence’ mobile phones that integrate multimedia and smart-phone features grew by 53.8%” year-over-year, said Tina Teng, analyst, wireless communications, for iSuppli.

The disappointment in Nokia’s third-quarter results came in its its performance in the Americas , where it a shipment decline of 12.7% in Latin America and 1.7% in North America vs. last year.

Worldwide mobile phone shipments amounted to 283 million units, up 6.4% sequentially and 15.4% compared to the third quarter in 2006, according to iSuppli.

High first-time sales of phones in emerging markets and high replacement rates in Europe were the major factor driving the growth.

The Top-5 mobile handset suppliers benefited from the healthy growth, with all of these companies increasing their shipments during the third quarter compared to the second.

Combined shipments for these companies rose 9.6% sequentially.

While Nokia’s unit shipment gain was impressive, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. of South Korea actually posted a slightly larger increase on a percentage basis, helping the company to maintain the second rank in the industry.

Samsung’s global mobile-handset shipments rose to 42.6 million units, up 13.9% sequentially. Compared to the same quarter last year, Samsung’s shipments rose by 38.8%, the highest rate of all the Top-5 mobile-handset makers.

This boosted Samsung’s market share to 15.1%, up from 14.1% in the second quarter, 2.2 points over No. 3 Motorola.

“Samsung’s strong performance was due to impressive increases in shipments in the European and Americas regions,” Teng said. “The company’s shipments in Europe and the Americas rose by 28.1% and 26.6% respectively in the third quarter. This more than offset the 6% sequential decline in shipments in Asia during the same period.”

Based on iSuppli’s preliminary estimate of Motorola’s share, the company shipped 36.5 million mobile handsets, up 2.8% sequentially. This lagged the handset market’s overall shipment growth rate of 6.4%, but kept Motorola’s market share fairly steady at around 13%. However, on a year-to-year basis, Motorola’s shipments plunged by 32.7%, making it the only company not to post an increase on an annual basis in the third quarter.

In the second quarter Motorola lost its longtime No. 2 ranking to Samsung. The company struggled to achieve an operating profit in the first and second quarters, says iSuppli. However, “with its new product line coming out during the holiday season, Motorola should be able to achieve continued growth in shipment volume during the fourth quarter,” Teng said.

LG was the clear leader in terms of volume-shipment percentage growth, with its sales rising by 14.7% sequentially, says the research firm.
 
However, all the growth was driven by emerging markets such as the Middle East, Latin America, India and China, as was reflected in its average selling price.  Slow sales in North America and Europe resulted in LG’s mobile-handset ASP falling to $124, down 18.6% from the second quarter.

Despite a revenue decline of 7.9% (measured in won), LG still managed to maintain its operating profit at 8.4%.
 
SAN JOSE, CA – Three-month bookings at North American-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment in September fell about 10% sequentially and 25% year-over-year, according to SEMI. Read more ...

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