LG and Sony withdraw patent suits under cross-licensing deal

By on August 11, 2011, 3:14 PM

LG and Sony have agreed to settle an ongoing patent dispute involving much of the companies' electronics portfolios. The lawsuits began last December when Sony filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission and a federal court, claiming that LG's mobile phones wrongfully used Sony's intellectual property.

Sony asked the ITC to block sales of the offending handsets. Unwilling to be bullied, LG retaliated with its own filings in February, suggesting its Japanese rival infringed on no less than eight patents.

LG claimed that Sony's PlayStation 3 and Bravia televisions infringed on four Blu-ray disc patents, demanding an injunction against such products in the US. LG filed a separate suit in the Southern District of California covering non-PS3 devices, such as computers and digital cameras.

LG was unsuccessful in having the PS3 prohibited in the US, but the console was temporarily banned in the Netherlands. Fortunately for Sony, a Dutch court quickly scrapped the initial ruling and ordered LG to pay $180,000 in legal fees.

In all, the embittered duo filed a series of 24 patent suits -- all of which have been withdrawn under the settlement. Both parties declined to share the exact terms of the arrangement, but LG says the deal will let the companies use each other's intellectual property without paying royalties.

Although some baseline terms have been set, the companies will determine the range of technologies to be included in the cross-licensing deal later this year. "We know that reconciliation is better than fighting, even though we would gain much from a lawsuit. We've tried to settle the cases and now we have reached an agreement," said an LG representative.

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