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WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 4, 2005) – Attendees at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (January 6-9/Las Vegas) in need of help sorting out legal issues surrounding the convergence of burgeoning new consumer technologies should consider contacting attorneys from Venable LLP. The Washington D.C.-based law firm will have several of its partners at the show, including senior members of its Patent Enforcement and Consumer Products practices.

As in prior years, the 2005 CES raises numerous legal questions including those stemming from digital rights management, as well as import and licensing issues related to new plasma screen technologies produced in Asia. Attendees will also be discussing the ownership and licensing of streaming technology patents.

This year’s show further demonstrates the growing convergence of information, communication, and entertainment media featuring education programs such as “Digital TV, Coming to Phones Near You” and “The Home Media Center: PC vs. CE vs. Hybrid Designs.”

Since the first CES in 1967 there has been a steady drumbeat of convergent technology on display. In 1970 the VCR debuted at the show, in 1996 the DVD was introduced, and in 1999 the digital video recorder (DVR) premiered, bringing digital video and the personal computer together with the standard television set.

“The CES is famous for introducing milestone technologies that affect the entire electronics world,” said James Burdett, a patent litigation partner at Venable. “It is likely that no one believed when the VCR appeared nearly 35 years ago that it would have led us to the landmark Betamaxcase, and more importantly to where we are today with IP management and digital rights protection.”

Virtually mirroring the VCR/Betamax controversy, Mr. Burdett noted the current battle lines being drawn, including the next major format war over high definition DVD standards. Elsewhere, TiVo has started working with the advertising industry to create targeted ads for its customers. Another hot button issue concerns the placement of paid advertising within video games.

Venable’s Patent Prosecution group represents some of the country’s leading entertainment and information technology providers, including Viacom International and its affiliates, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) and Intel Corporation. The practice also counsels electronics industry newcomers with growing patent portfolios such as Vector Products and assists growing consumer products companies such as Firaxis Games, Inc. in IP licensing-related counseling. In addition to counseling clients on copyright, trademark and patent issues, the firm frequently handles IP litigation matters.

Among the technology and consumer products Venable attorneys who will be attending CES include–

Ralph Albrecht primarily works with clients seeking protection of computer software, hardware and communications technology innovations. Recently Mr. Albrecht has published articles concerning IP protection of homeland security software. He co-chairs the firm’s Patent Prosecution group and is a registered patent attorney.

James Burdett, brings over 25 years computer industry experience to his work as an attorney. He served as Director of Worldwide Patent Development for a Fortune 100 technology company, Compaq Computer Corporation and has a thorough understanding of microprocessor-based systems, communications devices and protocols, and storage devices. Mr. Burdett chairs Venable’s Technology Division and is a member of the firm’s IP Litigation group.

Stuart Smith, a senior member of Venable’s Technology Division, focuses his practice primarily on preparation, prosecution, enforcement and foreign filing of US domestic patent applications. Mr. Smith represents clients ranging from individual investors to large multinational corporations as well as government contractors.

One of the American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has attorneys practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia.