Toshiba has launched legal action in the US against 17 companies that it says haven't paid the required licensing fees for DVD technology used in their products.

The Tokyo company and its US subsidiary filed a lawsuit at the District Court for the Northern District of California and a complaint with the US International Trade Commission over the products, which include DVD players, recorders and other DVD-related products, Toshiba said in a statement.

The court case seeks damages from the companies while the ITC case asks for the products to be banned from importation into the US.

Typically the companies would have to pay a few dollars in royalties for each DVD player they make. The DVD6C Licensing Group, which licenses patents on behalf of nine companies that hold basic DVD technology, charges between $3 and $8 per player.

The 17 companies named in both complaints are: Daewoo Electronics America (US), Dongguan GVG Digital Technology (China), Dongguan Tonic Electronics (China), Dongguan Xin Lian Digital Technology (China), GVG Digital Technology Holdings (HK), jWIN Electronics (US), Memcorp (US), Star Light Electronics (Hong Kong), Starlight International Holdings (Hong Kong), Starlight Marketing (Hong Kong), Tonic Digital Products (Hong Kong), Tonic DVB Marketing (China), Tonic Electronics (Hong Kong), Tonic Industries Holdings (Hong Kong), Tonic Technology (Hong Kong), Tonic Technology (China) and Tonic Trading Development (Hong Kong).