updated 07:20 am EDT, Wed August 24, 2011
HP sues AU Optronics in US price fixing case
HP has initiated a lawsuit against Taiwanese LCD manufacturer AU Optronics in the Northern District of California over alleged price fixing for thin film LCD panels. According to Reuters , HP's general manager for the Display Business unit confirmed that the complaint was filed under seal to protect HP's LCD procurement processes. HP's lawsuit follows similar action being taken by the Korean FTC against AU Optronics and several other LCD panel makers from Taiwan and Japan.
In 2010, the U.S. Justice Department accused AU Optronics executives of meeting secretly with a group of industry officials from other LCD manufacturers to collude on prices and even production levels. The alleged meetings took place in Tapei hotel rooms and restaurants from 2001 to 2006.
The Korean FTC's lawsuit claims similar collusion between AU Optronics, Chimei Innolux, Hannastar Display, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Samsung, LG Display and Sharp. engaged in anti-competitive practices to protect their profits at the expense of consumers.
The case will likely lead to a settlement between the parties, but in a worst case scenario for AU Optronics, could lead to charges being laid against executives for engaging in corrupt conduct.