Sharp Accuses TECO of Patent Violations
Jun 10, 2004
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Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Taiwan's TECO Electric & Machinery Co.'s Sankyo sales unit, saying the company has violated patents of Sharp's LCD technology used in televisions.

Sharp says it wants a court to halt imports and production of its sets that use the technology to fix pixel flaws in LCD panels.

In reaction to the lawsuit, Aeon -- Japan's largest supermarket chain where TECO's LCD TVs were mostly sold -- said it will suspend all business with Sharp.

Aeon, which has built its retail business by opening large-scale stores that take advantage of global suppliers to offer cheaper shopping, called Sharp's move regrettable and said the lawsuit had damaged Aeon's corporate brand.

Business between Aeon and Sharp is estimated at 7 billion yen (approx. U.S. $63.8 million) a year. Aeon sells Sharp LCD TVs, air-conditioners, washing machines, and other home electronic appliances. A Sharp spokesman had no comment on Aeon's decision.

Sankyo's parent company, TECO, said it had hoped to discuss the matter before the lawsuit was filed. "Our company expresses regret that Sharp takes this action which influences retailers and harms consumers' rights before responsibility has been determined through commercial negotiations," the company said in a statement.

Taiwan-based AU Optronics, which makes the LCD panel for TECO, criticized Sharp for its action, saying "Sharp's use of this legal route interferes with the customers of AU Optronics." (AP)

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