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Matsushita takes on LG over patent violations

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Nov 02,2004
LG Electronics said yesterday it would seek countermeasures against Japan’s Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., if the Japanese government grants Matsushita’s request to ban LG’s plasma display panel imports. On Monday, the maker of Panasonic products filed an injunction with the Tokyo District Court against LG Electronics, claiming that it had violated two of its patents on a thermal diffusion sheet that helps dissipate heat from the back of plasma display panel, or PDP screens. It also asked the Tokyo Customs Office to suspend imports of LG’s PDPs. In response, the Korean electronics giant said yesterday that it would take immediate legal action. If the Japanese customs office decides to halt imports, LG would ask Korean trade authorities to ban imports of Matsushita products to Korea and file suits in a Korean court against Matsushita’s Korean subsidiary, Panasonic Korea, for patent violations. LG’s branch in Japan will also file a counter suit in Tokyo District Court. In the second stage, the company would seek redress at the World Trade Organization. “We have held four negotiating sessions with Matsushita executives since August for cross-licensing deals because the company uses technology patented by LG as well, but things didn’t work out, because Matsushita demanded high valuations for its own patents while underrating ours,” said LG Electronics patent center head Ham Soo-young. “Matsushita’s actions are designed to keep a curb on the expanding PDP industry in Korea.” LG added that even if the Tokyo customs office bans PDPs from entering Japan, the decision would affect only a limited number of products. This is the second conflict over plasma display panel patents between Korea and Japan. The first was between Samsung SDI and Fujitsu. The two firms signing a cross-licensing deal in June. Currently, Korea’s Samsung SDI is the largest PDP module maker in the world, with approximately 24 percent of global market share. LG Electronics follows with 22.3 percent and Matsushita with 19.3 percent. by Wohn Dong-hee


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