Fri, Jun 10, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Hitachi sues two Taiwanese companies

DISPUTE The Japanese firm's suit accuses Amtran, Proview Electronics and Tatung of using its patents to produce PC monitors without its permission

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH BLOOMBERG

Japan's Hitachi Ltd filed a lawsuit against two Taiwanese companies and a Hong Kong firm in a US court on Monday over patents for personal computer monitors, the Japanese company said in a statement released yesterday in Tokyo.

Under the lawsuit filed in northern California, Japan's largest electronics maker accused Amtran Technology Co (瑞軒科技), Proview Electronics Co (唯冠電子) and Tatung Co (大同) of using Hitachi patents without permission.

"We have been negotiating with the companies to agree on patent licenses for some years, but the talks have been unsuccessful because there is a big gap between the two sides," Tokyo-based Hitachi said in the release. "The companies are making and selling PC monitors without obtaining our license."

Hitachi demanded the companies stop selling the monitors and asked for compensation. The company didn't specify how large the compensation should be.

In response, Amtran Technology spokesman Scottie Chiu (邱裕平) said that the company has not received an official notification from the US court, but they believe the case is likely regarding patent disputes Amtran has been trying to settle with Hitachi over the past year.

"We believe the two sides will soon reach an agreement," Chiu said in a phone interview with the Taipei Times.

"The damage from the legal matter will be very minor as the US market only makes up a small portion of the company's computer monitor operations," Chiu said.

Amtran, based in Taipei, makes cathode ray tube and liquid-crystal-display monitors. The company shipped 1.7 million computer monitors last year with less than 20 percent of the amount going to the US. Japan is the company's biggest export destination, accounting for half of its monitor shipment, according to the company.

Taiwanese TV vendor Tatung Co (大同) said in a statement submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp later yesterday that that it could not comment on the matter as it hasn't received notification from the court.

But the company claimed that for the time being, the matter won't seriously impact on its LCD monitor and TV businesses.

Taipei-based Tatung is the parent of Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管), the world's fifth-largest flat-panel display maker.

Hong Kong-listed Proview International Holdings Ltd makes flat-panel displays for Japan's Fujitsu Ltd and Taiwan's Acer Inc. Officials at Proview's Taiwan office were not immediately available to comment on the lawsuit.

Shares of Tatung and Amtran fell 2.4 percent and nearly 6 percent, respectively, to NT$10.2 and NT$15.7 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.

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