US: China’s Haier sues Samsung, LG over TV patents

Haier, a Chinese consumer electronics company, sued Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics as well as other electronics manufacturers for violating antitrust law in the US market.

Haier recently filed a lawsuit against Panasonic, Philips, Zenith, Samsung and LG, in a New York court for allegedly fixing TV-related patent fees.

Haier’s US subsidiary, Haier America Trading, raised the issue over a license related to the ATSC (Advanced Television System Committee) standard which is a digital transmission control system for terrestrial, cable and satellite networks. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have formed a patent pool with the remaining three companies under the patent management company MPEG LA.

The ATSC has a faster transmission rate and better compatibility compared to the DVB in Europe and the ISDB in Japan so was adopted as a digital TV broadcasting standard in North America and Korea, among other regions.

Haier claimed that these five companies hindered fair competition related to the ATSC patent by colluding with MPEG LA, the largest patent management company in the world, and the Colombia University Trust Committee.

“MPEG LA along with LG, Samsung, Philips, Panasonic and other licensors have conspired in restraint of trade to affect, raise, fix, maintain, and stabilize prices in the downstream product market by demanding an excessive, non-FRAND royalty rate for the ATSC standard,” Haier stated in the complaint.

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