South Korea's leading home appliance maker, LG Electronics Inc, yesterday declared an all-out war on Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co in a spiraling row over display panel copyrights.
Matsushita on Monday filed for an injunction with the Tokyo district court, asking for a court order to stop LG-produced plasma display panels (PDPs) imported by the Japanese unit of LG Electronics being sold in Japan, LG said.
Matsushita has also asked Tokyo customs authorities to impose an import ban on PDPs from LG.
"We will run into this challenge head-on," LG said in a statement.
Under a three-stage plan, LG will immediately file a counter-action in court in Japan, take legal action here against Matsushita's Korea operation for allegedly infringing upon LG's patent and ask South Korean trade authorities to ban imports of Matsushita products.
In the second stage, LG, said it would launch an "avalanche" of legal actions against Matsushita abroad and would actively consider taking action in the WTO.
In the final stage, LG said it would spread the row to copyrights concerning computers, without going into details.
The court action by Matsushita came after cross-licensing negotiations between the two electronics giants beginning in August this year went sour amid differences over how valuable their own copyrights concerning PDPs were.
Matsushita has been demanding that LG Electronics pay royalties for using two of the Japanese company's patented techniques to dissipate heat from plasma panels.
LG stressed the fallout from the possible import ban in Japan would be limited as the PDPs to be affected would only amount to a few hundred panels a month.
LG has exported PDP modules to Sony, Toshiba and other Japanese PDP TV makers since last year.
Samsung SDI is the world's largest PDP module maker with an estimated 24 percent global market share this year, followed by LG Electronics with 22.3 percent and Matsushita with 19.3 percent.