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Sharp sues Taiwanese company over LCD patents in US
2007-06-06 03:32:25 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TOKYO, Jun 6 (AP) -- Japan's Sharp Corp. said Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit against Hannstar Display Corp. of Taiwan, alleging violations of Sharp's liquid crystal display patents in the United States.

Sharp, which makes the Aquos brand LCD television, said in a press release it hasn't received sufficient payment from Hannstar for fees agreed to under a patent-sharing deal between the companies from January 2003 through December 2006.

The move highlights the sometimes testy relations between rival electronics makers as competition heats up in the region.

Competition from smaller manufacturers like Hannstar drove flat-screen TV prices down 20 percent to 30 percent last year, forcing bigger players like Sharp into rolling out larger TVs with more features.

The patent-shareing agreement was first struck because Sharp felt the Taiwan company was infringing upon patents prior to 2003, Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said. She added her company had filed and won a suit against Hannstar Display in a Tokyo court in December 2006, but an appeal was still pending.

A Hannstar Display spokesman downplayed the latest lawsuit.

"This is not a very serious matter," said Justin Chien, an investor relations manager at Hannstar Display. "After all, we have been paying for the patent, (it is) only that we are negotiating for a better price."

Chien said Hannstar Display is in the process of renewing its patent deal with Sharp. He declined to say what action the company will take to counter the lawsuit, only saying that "90 percent of lawsuits involving patent royalty fees end up in settlement."

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