China/US: Telescope maker files for bankruptcy after losing antitrust case

Irvine telescope maker Meade Instruments has filed for bankruptcy protection just days after its Chinese owner lost an antitrust case alleging a conspiracy to squeeze a competitor out of business.

Meade, bought by Ningbo Sunny Electronic in 2013, filed Wednesday, December 4, in US Bankruptcy Court’s Central District, claiming debts of US$10 million to US$50 million. A Meade affiliated company, Sunny Optics, filed for bankruptcy protection, too.

The filing includes an unspecified and disputed debt to Orion Telescopes & Binoculars, a Watsonville-based telescope marketer well-known in the sky-watching industry.

According to Law360, a California federal jury on November 26 awarded Orion US$16.8 million after it found that Ningbo Sunny, through Meade, was fixing telescope prices for American consumers with a manufacturing monopoly created after it bought Meade. Orion’s attorney, Noah Hagey, told Law360 damages could be tripled.

“Orion has bravely led the charge against supplier collusion, and its example should serve as a path forward for other brands beset by this sort of unlawful conduct,” Hagey was quoted.

Full Content: Law 360

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