updated 04:45 pm EST, Tue December 1, 2009
Nokia sues LCD makers for price fixing
The world's largest cellphone maker, Nokia, is suing 11 manufacturers of LCD displays for allegedly colluding on fixing the prices of liquid crystal displays, according to a Tuesday WSJ report (subscription required). In the suit, filed on November 25th in San Francisco, Nokia maintains the companies raised the prices of LCDs above what they would have been in a competitive market, in a period ranging from January 1st, 1996, to December 11th, 2006. Nokia purchased these overpriced LCDs for its smartphones.
Among the companies named in the suit are Samsung, Toshiba, AU Optronics, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Sharp and LG Display, as well as Philips Electronics, Tatung, Seiko Epson, Samsung SDI and Hitachi Display.
Nokia is confident in its action, as it is convinced price fixing has occurred. How much money Nokia seeks in the lawsuit has not been disclosed, however. Even though it can take a few years to reach a court settlement, Nokia is open to a settlement outside of court.
In October, AT&T also sued AU Optronics, LG Display, Samsung and other LCD manufacturers. This was under very similar circumstances and covering the same time period.
Late in 2008, LG, Sharp and Chunghwa plead guilty to colluding on price fixing of large LCD panels and paid $585 million in fines. Hitachi paid $31 million in March of this year for similar charges.