Fujitsu hits Samsung with PDP patent suits

Fujitsu has filed lawsuits against two units of South Korea's Samsung Electronics alleging infringement of patents related to plasma display panels (PDPs).

The company filed a suit in Tokyo against Samsung alleging infringement of a single Japanese patent and in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Samsung SDI alleging infringement of ten other patents, it said in a statement.

Fujitsu's suits seek to prohibit the importation and sale of PDPs alleged to infringe on its patents, and calls for compensation for past infringement, the company said. It is also asking for administrative injunctive relief under a Japanese customs and tariffs law, which prohibits importation of products that infringe Japanese patents, it said.

Fujitsu and Samsung are two of the world's largest manufacturers of PDPs. Their panels are used both internally, within their respective companies, and sold to other electronics companies that lack their own manufacturing capability.

The lawsuit was filed after negotiations between the two companies broke down, said Fujitsu.

Samsung was not immediately available for comment.

PDPs are a fast-growing sector of the display market. They are typically used in applications that require a flat display panel of 40 inches or more across the diagonal, such as televisions and public information display monitors. More advanced and larger-scale production processes have helped reduce the price of such panels in recent years and sales are increasing.

The worldwide market for PDPs is expected to expand by an average of 70 percent each year between 2002 and 2007, rising from 530,000 units in 2002 through 1.1 million units in 2003 to an estimated 9.5 million units in 2007, according to figures from IDC.

In Japan shipments of PDP television sets totalled 239,000 in 2003, a rise of 25 percent on the previous year, according to statistics from the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Association (JEITA).

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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