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Giants clash over plasma patents

07 Apr 2004

Fujitsu launches legal action against Samsung over alleged infringement of Fujitsu’s plasma display panel patents.

Fujitsu of Japan has initiated legal action against fellow consumer electronics giant Samsung SDI in both the Japanese and US courts. The litigation concerns plasma display panels (PDPs), which are the principal component of plasma display televisions.

Fujitsu alleges that PDPs manufactured by Samsung SDI infringe Fujitsu’s patents. The company has asserted patent infringement claims against Samsung Japan Corporation in Toyko’s District Court and Samsung SDI in the US Federal District Court in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit filed in Toyko alleges infringement of Japanese patent number 2,845,183, which is one of Fujitsu’s basic patents in the PDP field. Ten other patents are alleged to be infringed in the claims asserted in Los Angeles, US.

Fujitsu wants a court order that will block future import and sales of infringing PDP products, as well as compensation for past infringement. The company is also seeking administrative injunctive relief, which under Japanese law prohibits the import of products that infringe Japanese patents.

Before launching its legal action, Fujitsu claims it tried to negotiate with Samsung. In a press release announcing the litigation, Fujitsu said: “Samsung SDI refused our reasonable requests and continued to manufacture and sell PDPs that Fujitsu contends infringe Fujitsu’s PDP patents.”

Masanobu Katoh, president of Fujitsu’s Intellectual Property Group, said: “We have invested over 30 years and very significant resources in developing commercially viable PDP technology. We cannot permit others to exploit these valuable inventions without appropriate compensation.”

In January 2004, Samsung SDI claimed it had developed the world’s largest plasma display panel. Unveiling the 80-inch display, the firm said: “We aim to become number one in terms of new product development, production capacity and market share this year.”

Samsung said it planned to churn out 80-inch displays on three production lines by the end of the year. This would raise its monthly PDP capacity to 250,000 units and increase its annual sales to 1 million units.

Jacqueline Hewett is technology editor on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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