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Wed, Aug 08, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Sharp accuses Samsung of patent infringement

TECHNOLOGY WAR The Japanese electronics giant said it filed suit in a US court only after negotiations with the South Korean firm for a licensing agreement fell through

AP , SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

A model presents the latest line of Sharp Aquos plasma TV sets at CEATEC Japan, near Tokyo, on Oct. 3 last year. The Japanese electronics firm filed a lawsuit in a US district court on Monday alleging infringements of five of its patents on LCD-related technology by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and its subsidiaries.

PHOTO: EPA

In what could be a high-stakes battle between two of the biggest makers of liquid-crystal displays (LCD), Sharp Corp has sued Samsung Electronics Co, accusing its rival of infringing five of its patents on LCD technologies often used in televisions, computer monitors and cellphones.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday in US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, centers on patents related to various methods Sharp said it developed to improve the quality of LCD displays. The Japanese electronics company is seeking unspecified damages, a ban on infringing products and a jury trial.

The lawsuit does not specify how many products are in question, but analysts say the scope will likely be in the millions, and the monetary stakes high.

"We are currently in a cutthroat time in the industry, where prices of finished goods are falling so fast that any kind of technological edge one company has over the other is completely vital," said Eric Haruki, an analyst of TV technologies at market researcher IDC.

Samsung prides itself on its own technologies and patents as well, Haruki said, and the infringement questions will likely be a complicated task for the jury, if the case goes to trial.

Representatives of Samsung did not return a call for comment.

Sharp said it sued Korean-based Samsung only after negotiations between the companies for a licensing agreement fell through.

Sharp said it has been honing its LCD technologies since the 1970s, when it produced the world's first application of the display in calculators. The company dominated the booming LCD TV market for years until Samsung and Sony Corp took its crown away last year, IDC said.

Like Samsung, Sharp also creates components for LCD displays that are used by other electronics manufacturers and brands.

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