It all began in a US District Court in Texas in August 2007 with Sharp Corporation (Sharp) alleging infringement of 5 electronics/TV patents by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (Samsung).
In March 2009 Samsung won a patent infringement lawsuit against Sharp in Japan, according to the The Korea Herald.
But the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in June 2009 that Sharp had infringed on a Samsung patent. And in November 2009 the ITC made another ruling that Samsung violated four LCD-related patents held by Sharp.
More recently, December 2009 a court in The Hague ruled that Samsung had infringed on Sharp patents and ordered a halt to imports of infringing products, while in January 2010 the ITC began blocking Samsung products.
This long running battle between Sharp and Samsung, market leaders in the field of flat screen television involved courts in the US, Europe, Japan (where Sharp is based) and South Korea, where Samsung is based.
One wonders what it involved for after the November 2009 ruling from the ITC which barred Samsung from selling the infringing LCDs in the US, Samsung said that there would be
no impact on our business and our ability to meet market demand.
Regardless, on February 5 2010 the two Asian companies finally felt it necessary to sign an agreement to settle the court actions which had been trundling along since 2007. The Sharp corporate website states that the agreement allows:
the two companies to mutually utilize the disputed patents relating to LCD panels and modules, owned worldwide by each company.
Both companies declined to disclose details of the agreement. Miyuki Nakayama, a Sharp spokeswoman in Tokyo could not resist saying however:
We have a confidentiality agreement but we can say these conditions will be in favour of Sharp.