Friday, November 12, 2004

TOKYO BARS IMPORTS OF LG PANELS TEMPORARILY: The Tokyo Customs Office said Thursday that it accepted Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.'s request to suspend imports of plasma display panels produced by LG Electronics because of its alleged patent infringement.

On Nov. 1, the company filed suit in Tokyo District Court seeking an injunction against the importation and sale of LG flat screens in Japan, and asked the customs office to bar them. LG's screens could be banned from the Japanese market for up to two years. The Tokyo Customs Office said it would hear arguments from both Matsushita and LG Electronics in one to two months before it decides whether to reopen imports.LG said while the decision would not be particularly harmful to the company, it is "regrettable."

It said it would file suit seeking to nullify the plasma display panel patents that Matsushita holds late this month.This is the second dispute this year between Japanese and South Korean makers of plasma displays, a market that researcher ISuppli Corp. forecast would grow to $11 billion next year. Samsung SDI Co. and Fujitsu Ltd. settled their dispute in June by agreeing to cross-license each other's patents.

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