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December 27, 2007

Samsung Seeks U.S. Probe of Rival Sharp for Alleged Patent Infringement

By Raju Shanbhag, TMCnet Contributing Editor

A new patent infringement lawsuit brought by Samsung (News - Alert) against Sharp Technology is intensifying friction between leaders in the flat panel technology industry. Samsung is claiming that Sharp is engaging in unfair trade practices. This follows a lawsuit bought in August by Sharp against Samsung in a Texas Federal U.S. court.

Both companies make flat panel TV sets and apparently think it is necessary to engage in legal battles to avoid being left behind in the developing Asian market along with other relatively undeveloped markets.  
According to the complaint filed by Samsung, with the United States International Trade Commission, Sharp and two U.S. subsidiaries imported and sold liquid crystal display products that infringe on four of Samsung’s U.S. patents, Associated Press said in a Thursday report. Samsung wants the Washington-based trade commission to launch an investigation and order that the products in question—including LCD TVs, monitor, laptop computers and mobile phones—be kept out of the U.S. market.
“Sharp is prepared to take appropriate legal countermeasures once it studies the complaints,” the AP report quoted Sharp spokesperson Akinori Shibuya as saying. Shibuya was referring to both the trade commission filing and Samsung’s lawsuits.
Samsung also claimed that Sharp LCD TVs violate two Japanese patents owned by Samsung and asked the Tokyo District Court to prohibit the manufacture and sale of these TVs in Japan, AP said. This adds to the recent battle between South Korean and Japanese electronics manufacturers. Recently, plasma screens made by LG Electronics (News - Alert), Inc., were included in a patent battle as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. went to court claiming the South Korean company was infringing on its patents. Both the companies settled the dispute by signing a cross-licensing agreement in April, 2005.

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Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raju’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

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