Patlex, the Chatsworth-based laser firm, said it agreed to grant Ford Motor Co. a license to make, use and sell lasers under Patlex patents. Ford said the deal should be worth a maximum of $850,000 over an undetermined number of years.
Ford joins AT&T, General Electric, General Motors, IBM and Motorola in acquiring licenses under Patlex's so-called Gould patents. Patlex acquired a 64% interest in all income from the patents in return for waging a legal battle for inventor Gordon Gould to uphold their validity.
Patlex said the agreement calls for Ford to pay $100,000 immediately, another $100,00 within a year and $500,000 more over four years if a key Patlex patent is upheld in complex legal proceedings now under way.
Ford also agreed to make additional payments to Patlex if it buys any laser from an unlicensed manufacturer. Ford would pay Patlex a 6% royalty or $150,000 over the next 11 years, whichever is lower, on such lasers. Ford also agreed to pay a 5% royalty on any Patlex-patent lasers it sells to anyone other than the U. S. Government, which is now Ford's only laser customer.