Fri, Mar 04, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Teco downplays effect of lawsuit

PATENT DISPUTE The firm believes a suit filed by Sharp will be thrown out, as the charges are similar to a case dismissed by Japanese courts previously

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH BLOOMBERG

Teco Electric & Machinery Co (東元電機), a leading Taiwanese television vendor, yesterday said Sharp Corp's latest patent infringement charges will not have a substantial impact on its sales in Japan.

Teco's remarks came after the Japanese consumer electronics giant filed a lawsuit against Teco's Japanese unit, Sankyo Co, at Tokyo District Court in the middle of last month, claiming the company infringed on its liquid-crystal-display (LCD) patents.

Previous charges

Earlier this year, the court threw out patent infringement charges filed by Sharp against Teco.

"We are confident that the ruling will not be different, as the charge is almost the same as the previous one," Teco chairman Theodor Huang (黃茂雄) said.

The new lawsuit filed by Sharp seeks damages and asks Sankyo to stop production, sales and import of 20-inch LCD-TVs, said Yukiyasu Uno, a spokesman for Osaka-based Sharp.

"We don't expect Sharp's new action to negatively impact Teco's business in Japan," Huang said.

Teco has been barred from selling its brand-name 20-inch TV models to Japan for the past eight months.

Temporary injunction

Last June, Sharp filed a temporary injunction against Teco, claiming panels used in the company's LCD televisions, purchased from Taiwan-based AU Optronics, infringe on a Sharp technology that fixes faulty pixels during production.

To fill the supply gap, Teco has been exporting 27-inch and 30-inch LCD-TVs, according to a company statement.

As the Japanese firm dropped the injunction on Tuesday, Teco yesterday said it will be able to resume exports of its 20-inch LCD-TV sets using "problematic" flat panels made by AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) soon.

Sankyo is also considering filing a lawsuit seeking damages against Sharp for making "groundless" claims that led to lost sales and hurt its business reputation, according to a faxed statement from the company.

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