Thu, Nov 23, 2006 - Page 12 News List

US jury orders local LCD firm to pay damages

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管), the nation's third-largest maker of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels, yesterday said a US jury had ordered the company to pay US$50 million in damages to rival LG.Philips LCD Co.

"That is not the final result yet," said Ally Chen (陳佳謙), a public relations executive at Chunghwa Picture. "We are waiting for the court's final ruling."

Chunghwa Picture said it will appeal the patent infringement case on the grounds that LG.Philips did not provide sufficient evidence to support its accusations. LG.Philips claims that Chunghwa used the company's intellectual property illegally.

In a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday, the Taiwanese company said it was "confident that the district court, or the court of appeals would overturn the verdict made by the Californian jury."

In addition, Chunghwa Picture said it may seek compensation from LG.Philips for damages.

The company's comments came after the US District Court jury in Los Angeles, California, ruled yesterday that Chunghwa Picture and Tatung Co, one of Chunghwa Picture's customers, infringed upon two patents relating to LCD manufacturing held by LG.Philips under the "doctrine of equivalents."

The jury awarded LG.Philips US$53.5 million in damages, with US$50 million from Chunghwa Picture and US$3.5 million from Tatung.

A judge will determine a final damage amount at a later hearing, according to the companies.

LG.Philips, the world's second-largest maker of LCD panels, has filed several patent infringement lawsuits against Chunghwa Picture and the Taiwanese firm's customers over the past four years, in an attempt to keep the Taiwanese company out of the LCD market, Chunghwa Picture said.

In August 2002, LG.Philips successfully sued Chunghwa in the US District Court in Los Angeles, also a patent infringement case.

Courts have previously rejected four other charges brought by LG.Philips against Chunghwa Picture regarding the so-called side-mount technology used to make slimmer computer screens. Two patent infringement lawsuits are also in progress.

Chunghwa Picture said yesterday that the jury's decision in favor of LG.Philips was the result of a vague understanding of the coverage of patents relating to technologies. Besides, one of the patents has already expired, it said.

Asked about Tatung's reaction to the jury's decision, a Tatung official who declined to be named said that the company will leave the issue to Chunghwa Picture to settle as Tatung was a client purchasing the controversial panels and not directly involved in the infringement case.

additional reporting by Jason Tan

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