Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) Files Lawsuit Against Screen Makers

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) has filed a lawsuit against two LCD screen makers in Taiwan, after accusing them of price fixing. The Financial Times reports that the suit alleges that Chunghwa Picture Tubes (2475:TT) and Tatung Company of America, a subsidiary of Chunghwa, caused more than $1 billion in damages by charging too much for its screens.

Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) Files Lawsuit Against Screen Makers

The suit was filed Friday in San Francisco, and Bloomberg reports that it seeks three times the damages for the allegations between the years of 1998 and 2006. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) said it is trying to get the situation resolved without going to court, although “negotiations have not been successful.”

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Both U.S. and European authorities have been running anti-trust investigations on price fixing by companies that make screens for various devices, like TV sets and notebook computers. A large portion of the largest display manufacturers in Asia have already settled, with large penalties paid to litigants and various governments. Sharp Corporation (PINK:SHCAY) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (005930:KS) are two of the main companies that have already paid big penalties on settlements in connection with price fixing.

Chunghwa itself has paid stiff fines in other cases, although those fines were still much less than the billions of dollars Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) is seeking. So far, the highest price fixing penalty that has been paid in the U.S. was $500 million. A U.S. court fined AU Optronics Corp. (NYSE:AUO) that amount in September.

Chunghwa Picture Tubes (2475:TT) said it does not expect Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s lawsuit to affect its finances or sales. The European Union originally investigated Chunghwa Picture Tubes (2475:TT) for price fixing six years ago, and the company paid 9 million euros and an additional undisclosed amount as a settlement for a class-action lawsuit filed by a consumer group in the U.S.