Sony, LG Electronics settle bitter patent dispute

SEOUL/TOKYO Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:04pm EDT

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SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) - LG Electronics and Sony said on Thursday that they have resolved patent disputes between the two firms spanning smartphones, TVs and Blu-ray technology, with LG adding that they have signed a cross-licensing deal.

"LG and Sony recently agreed to drop patent infringement lawsuits against each other," a spokeswoman at South Korea's LG Electronics said. Sony confirmed this, but declined to comment further.

LG shares were up 1.3 percent, outperforming the Korea Composite Stock Price Index's (KOSPI) 1.7 percent fall, while Sony shares were down 2.7 percent, hitting a 2-1/2 year low, against a 1.5 percent drop in the benchmark Nikkei average.

Sony and LG have been embroiled in a string of bitter lawsuits on a wide range of products in Europe and the United States since the two technology giants failed to renew a technology sharing agreement that expired three years ago, a person familiar with the matter said.

Sony had filed a complaint against LG with the U.S. International Trade Commission, seeking to block LG from shipping its Rumor Touch and several other smartphones to the United States.

LG also told the commission that Sony's PlayStation 3 infringed its Blu-ray video technology.

The patent spat culminated in the seizure of PlayStation 3 game consoles by customs officers in the Netherlands following a court injunction by LG in March.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul and Mayumi Negishi in Tokyo; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner and Joseph Radford)

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