Hewlett-Packard sues two display manufacturers for LCD price fixing damages

HP wants to recover damages it claims it suffered from as a result of price fixing conspiracy between LCD panel makers

Hewlett-Packard has filed a complaint against display manufacturers Chunghwa Picture Tubes and Tatung Company of America, seeking to recover damages it claims it suffered as a result of their involvement in a price fixing scheme.

Chungwha Picture Tubes, based in Padeh City, Taiwan, and Tatung Company of America, of Long Beach, California, are both subsidiaries of Tatung Company, a consumer electronics manufacturer based in Taiwan.

In November 2008, Chungwha pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy together with other display manufacturers, including LG Display and Sharp, to set the prices of Thin-Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) panels to predetermined levels. The company agreed to pay a US$65 million criminal fine at the time.

A jury found AU Optronics, another display manufacturer, guilty of participating in the same conspiracy and was fined US$500 million in September by a judge of the U.S District Court for the Northern District of California.

"HP has filed suit against Chungwha Picture Tubes, Ltd. and its subsidiary Tatung Company of America, Inc., in a California court to recover damages the company suffered as a result of the defendant's admitted participation in a TFT-LCD price fixing scheme from 1996-2006," HP's vice president of corporate communications, Howard Clabo, said Tuesday via email.

"HP has suffered significant damages as a result of the price-fixing conspiracy in which Chungwha has admitted it participated," Clabo, said.

The U.S. IT company tried to settle the matter out of court, but negotiations failed. HP was left with no choice but to bring the matter before the courts in order to be made whole, Clabo said.

Chungwha Picture Tubes and Tatung Company of America did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month HP took an $8.8 billion charge because of what the company called "serious accounting improprieties" at U.K. software firm Autonomy that occurred before HP acquired the company in 2011. This led to HP suffering a loss of $6.9 billion in the fourth quarter.

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Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Topics: antitrust, consumer electronics, Civil lawsuits, legal, Components, Tatung Company of America, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Hewlett-Packard, displays
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