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Samsung sued - AGAIN
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Written by Gizmo   
Thursday, 08 February 2007 19:57
As if Samsung's woes over DRAM and LCD price fixing weren't enough, they are now being sued by Avnik Corporation for...........PATENT violation!  However, all may not be as bad as it seems.

If you've been following our news, you no doubt know by now that Samsung was convicted of price fixing in the DRAM market and ordered to pay a USD $300 million fine, and several Samsung executives were ordered to pay USD $250,000 fines as well.  In addition to all of that, Samsung was sued by serveral states in a class action lawsuit in the U.S. which they have recently agreed to settle for USD $90 million.  And this on the heels of a lawsuit accusing them of price fixing in the LCD Market.

"When it rains, it pours", and it is definitely pouring on Samsung, but first, a little background.

In September 2005, Avnik Corp. filed lawsuit against Nikon corporation and two of its U.S. subsidiaries for violating certain of Avnik's patents relating to "inventions in high-performance scanning microlithography systems".  The patents in question are important because they are implemented in equipment manufactured by Avnik for the production of microelectronic devices, flexible electronics and....FLAT PANEL DISPLAYS.

As reported at EDN , the suit alleges that Samsung, unable to meet demand for its flat panel displays from its own production, purchases panels from other manufacturers, including AU Optronics, Chi Mei Optoelectronics, and Chunghwa PictureTubes.  All three manufacturers use Nikon equipment in the production of their panels.  Once Samsung imports these panels into the States, these panels run afoul of the aformentioned patent dispute between Avnik and Nikon.

It seems like Samsung may simply be caught in the middle on this one, but given Samsung's recent 'problems', this certainly doesn't look good for them right now, even if it eventually turns out to be an innocent misunderstanding.  Given the nature of the dispute between Avnik and Nikon (which is  unresolved at the time of this writing), this could ultimately have far-reaching consequences for the entire LCD industry.

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