Judge denies Google claim on LCD costs

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Judge denies Google claim on LCD costs

Google’s Motorola Mobility unit lost most of an antitrust lawsuit against Samsung Electronics, Sharp and other liquid crystal display makers it accused of a pricing conspiracy.

The mobile-phone maker claimed it was hurt by the defendants’ fixing of prices for displays bought by Motorola affiliates outside the United States and used in phones later sold inside and outside the country. Claims where the bulk of economic activity occurs outside the United States are barred by antitrust law, a judge ruled.

“The undisputed facts show that the transactions were overwhelmingly foreign in nature,” U.S. District Judge Joan B. Gottschall in Chicago said in a ruling yesterday.

Motorola claimed the defendants engaged in a decade-long conspiracy to inflate panel prices. Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola filed the case in 2009 before spinning off its mobile-phone making division, which was later acquired by Google.

Gottschall, citing defense filings, said more than 99 percent of the liquid-crystal-display purchases at issue were made by Motorola’s foreign affiliates, which later assigned their claims to the United States.

“Less than 1 percent of the $5.4 billion in commerce at issue here - $43 million - actually involves sales to Motorola in the United States,” defense lawyers said in a Sept. 20 filing.

“We disagree with the court’s ruling and are considering next steps,” said a spokesman for Motorola Mobility in a statement.


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