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AUO wins in patent lawsuit against Thomson Licensing

TAIPEI--Taiwan's AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), the world's No. 4 LCD maker, said Sunday that a trade panel in the United States has upheld an initial ruling of a lawsuit that AUO did not violate any patents claimed by Thomson Licensing Inc.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) affirmed June 15 the preliminary decision on a patent-infringement case on monitor and television displays that was brought by Thomson against AUO, according to an AUO statement filed with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

AUO said it was pleased with the USITC announcement but the Hsinchu-based company did not provide further details of the case.

In a complaint to the USITC in August 2010, Thomson accused Taiwanese flat-panel maker Chimei Innolux Corp. and chip designer MStar Semiconductor Inc. of infringing on its patents by selling their LCD devices and parts in the United States.

The devices and parts in question included monitors, TVs and modules, as well as components such as panels and controllers.

Thomson filed a second complaint in October 2010 targeting AUO and Qisda Corp., also seeking to block their products from being imported into the U.S.

An administrative law judge of the USITC said in an initial determination on Jan. 12 that AUO and MStar had not violated any Thomson patents.

The judge did find, however, that some circuits made by Chimei Innolux and Qisda infringed upon one of the five patents Thomson asserted in the case.

Thomson is a subsidiary of French set-top box maker Technicolor SA, which has tried to force companies into licensing agreements with the threat of an import ban by USITC, helping the money-losing firm to finance a turnaround.

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