Samsung Seeks U.S. Probe into Patent Infringement Claims

Sony says Sharp engaged in unfair trade practices by importing and selling LCD products that infringe four U.S. patents owned by Samsung.

South Korea's Samsung Electronics said Dec. 27 it had filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging patent infringements by Japan's Sharp Corp. and its U.S. subsidiaries. It said the complaint filed on December 21 alleges that Sharp and its subsidiaries engaged in unfair trade practices by importing and selling LCD products that infringe four U.S. patents owned by Samsung.

Samsung said it had asked the trade commission to ban the import of affected products such as LCD televisions, monitors, notebook computers and cellular phones.

The company said the patented technologies improve the performance and efficiency of liquid crystal display devices, and enable lower manufacturing costs and a simplified LCD panel structure. "These patented technologies enable Samsung's products to enjoy competitive advantages in the marketplace," it said.

The firm is also pursuing federal lawsuits in Delaware and Texas against Sharp for the alleged infringements.

In addition, it said it filed a preliminary injunction against Sharp in the Tokyo District Court on December 26. This alleges that LCD TVs made and sold by Sharp in Japan infringe two LCD-related Japanese patents owned by Samsung. The company asked the Tokyo court to ban the manufacture and sale of the products in Japan.

The complaints are the latest in a series of legal tussles between Korean and Japanese electronics giants over patents. Earlier this month Sharp said it had filed a lawsuit in Seoul against Samsung Electronics over LCD patents, following similar action against the Korean firm in Texas in August.

Samsung Electronics employs about 138,000 people in 56 countries and had parent company sales of $63.4 billion in 2006.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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