Taiwan TFT-LCD makers to face patent infringement suits
According to Jiann-Jong Yuan, director of Science & Technology Law Center (STLC) of MIC, it is very likely that Taiwan TFT makers will be facing patent royalty violation cases from foreign companies.
Yuan pointed out that "shipment volume" is one possible ground for Taiwan TFT-LCD makers to pay for royalties. "The patent infringement suit of CD-R royalties against major Taiwan makers last year is an example," he said. "The suit filed by Intel against VIA regarding P4 chipset patents is one controversial case."
According to a statistics report conducted by STLC, among the major TFT-LCD makers worldwide, Sharp acquired 544 patents, followed by LG. Phillips' with 285 patents, Toshiba with 283 patents, Hitachi with 281 patents, NEC with 270 patents, Samsung with 258 patents, ADI with 173 patents, IBM with 170 patents, Fujitsu with 119 patents, Hydis with 94 patents, and Tottori Sanyo with 78 patents.
As of February 2002, among the Taiwan TFT-LCD makers, only Chimei and Hannstar have acquired patents, with 7 and one, respectively.
"Under this circumstances, Taiwan TFT-LCD makers are at the brink of igniting patent suits," Yuan said. "With such large shipments and no patented technologies, it is expected that these companies will become targets of foreign companies."
STLC stated that the cases for claiming patent royalty by foreign companies have increased by 20 percent in 2001. Yuan noted, "The higher shipment Taiwan makers deliver, the more they are apt for patent infringement suits."
In view of this, STLC established an e-Patent Alliance to train and guide local companies to avoid patent infringement cases.
Electronic Engineering Times Taiwan
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