updated 3/6/2008 12:53:16 PM ET 2008-03-06T17:53:16

Police and customs officials investigating suspected patent violations seized mobile phones, navigation devices and other gadgets in raids at a technology fair in Germany, with many Chinese exhibitors among those searched, authorities said Thursday.

Police in Hanover said that more than 180 officials were involved in the searches Wednesday at the annual CeBIT trade and technology fair in the central German city.

They said they filled 68 boxes with gadgets, documents and advertising material. The material included cell phones, navigation devices, electronic picture frames and flat-screen devices, a police statement said.

Police said they took the identities of nine people. They added that nearly all the exhibitors searched were cooperative — except for one who resisted and was briefly taken to a police station.

They said that of the 51 exhibitors affected, 24 were from mainland China, three from Hong Kong and 12 from Taiwan. Another nine were German, with one each from Poland, the Netherlands and Korea.

Police did not identify the people or companies concerned.

They said that "the background is the number that has been rising for years of criminal complaints by the holders of patent rights in the run-up to CeBIT."

The alleged patent violations largely concerned devices with MP3, MP4 or digital video broadcast functions, as well as DVD players and blank CDs and DVDs, police said.

They said the patent holders "had pointed out to the affected exhibiting firms in good time the lack of licensing contracts" and asked them to get in contact.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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