SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean electronics giants Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. have been sued in the United States over alleged collusion concerning digital television broadcasting technology, industry sources said Thursday.
Chinese home appliance maker Haier Group Co. recently filed a lawsuit with a federal court in New York, accusing Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Philips and Zenith of colluding to inflate the licensing fee for the U.S.-based Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standard.
In the lawsuit, Haier America Trading, Haier’s U.S. subsidiary, alleges that the five defendants have colluded with MPEG LA, the world’s largest patent management company, and the Trustees of Columbia University to restrict fair competition regarding the ATSC patent.
In collusion with the five companies, MPEG LA has demanded unfair royalties, which has restricted fair competition and passing the burden onto consumers, it claims.
South Korea and North American countries have adopted the ATSC standard for digital TV broadcasting as it is faster and more compatible than the Europe-based DVB-T2 standard or Japan’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting.
Industry watchers said Haier’s lawsuit appears to be related to its greater efforts to tap deeper into the North American market.
“Last year, Haier acquired the household appliance business of U.S.-based General Electric, showing its strategy to expand its presence in the world market,” an industry source said. “There is a possibility that Samsung and LG may be embroiled in more patent lawsuits with Chinese firms down the road.”