HP sues AU Optronics over alleged LCD panel price

Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:37am EDT

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(Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co has filed a case in a U.S. court against AU Optronics, saying the Taiwanese company conspired to fix the prices of thin film liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, court documents showed.

The complaint, which sought damages from AU Optronics, was filed under seal to protect HP's confidential information about the company's process for procuring LCD panels, according to a court filing made by Jun Kim, HP's general manager for the Displays Business Unit.

AU declined to comment.

Earlier this month, a Korean regulator ruled that AU had infringed the competition law, along with other LCD makers such as Taiwan's Chimei Innolux.

Last year, the U.S. Justice Department had accused AU Optronics executives of participating in a group of industry officials who met regularly in Taipei hotel rooms and restaurants to discuss and agree on prices, from 2001 to 2006.

Lawsuits, especially patent disputes, are common in the technology sector as makers seek to protect their newest technologies from being commoditized and exploited by rivals. But most are settled out of court as big companies prefer to avoid long fights and patented technology can be out of date by the time a case is over.

In April, AU and Japan's Sharp Corp signed a patent cross-licensing agreement and agreed to withdraw all lawsuits they have filed against each other.

AU and Korea's Samsung Electronics Co have also filed patent suits against each other this year.

The case is Hewlett-Packard vs AU Optronics Corp, Case No. 3:11-cv-04116-SI, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore and Clare Jim in Taipei; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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