Domestics weigh suing LCD giants

09:46, May 14, 2010      

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Several Chinese electronics manufacturers are preparing to file lawsuits in London alleging a price conspiracy by liquid crystal display (LCD) panel producers including Samsung, LG and Sharp, according to a lawyer responsible for the cases.

"As of now three Chinese electronics manufacturers have contacted us and showed an interest in filing lawsuits against these flat panel giants," Hao Junbo, a lawyer at Lehman, Lee & Xu, headquartered in Beijing, told the Global Times Tuesday, without specifying the would-be plaintiffs in the suit.

"They are very cautious and want to keep a low profile at the current stage."

Customers of Samsung, Sharp and other flat panel producers were cleared to sue the companies for price fixing as a group, according to a San Francisco court filing released March 28. Earlier the court ruled that global LCD panel giants, including LG, Sharp, Samsung, Philips and Toshiba, unlawfully colluded to inflate the prices of LCD displays between 1999 and 2006.

Nokia filed lawsuits in the US and UK in December against 25 LCD panel suppliers including Samsung, LG, Sharp and Toshiba over claims they colluded to fix prices.

Hao said his clients' lawsuits might follow the legal actions of Nokia in the High Court of London.

"We will choose to sue in the UK because our clients export or do business in EU countries, and we may face less barriers to file lawsuits in the UK than in the US due to their legislative procedures, as well as save more costs and time compared with suing in China," he said.

Hao also said the firm is considering hiring a professional financial company to calculate the losses of its clients and figure out possible compensation values.

"Chinese electronics manufacturers don't have much experience in cross-country lawsuits, and they may lose more than they gain from time-consuming trials," said Lu Renbo, deputy secretary general of the China Electronic Chamber of Commerce.

Lu said most Chinese TV manufacturers lack core technology in producing LCD panels, so they don't want to offend large panel suppliers.

Chinese TV manufacturers are expected to purchase 48 million LCD panels this year, according to figures from Hon Hai Technology in Taiwan.

"Some domestic production lines of LCD panels are under construction and will be put into use after two or three years. It is still a question whether the technology could meet market demand by then," Lu said.

"It is more important for Chinese electronics manufacturers to improve their industry structures rather than spending time on lawsuits," said Luo Qingqi, senior director of the Qingdao-based Paller Consultancy firm.

Source: Global Times


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