Nokia brings price-fixing suit against LCD makers

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The Independent Online

Nokia has launched a legal assault against 11 rivals, including Samsung and LG, saying the companies have acted as a cartel to fix prices for mobile telephone screens.

The Finnish group, the world's largest mobile handset maker, filed lawsuits in the UK and the US against the electronics suppliers, which also include Hitachi, Philips, Seiko Epson, Sharp and Toshiba, as well as a number of their businesses.

A spokeswoman for Nokia said it had "filed suits to recover overcharges it paid as a result of cartel activities which are currently under governmental investigation". Nokia sued over the price-fixing of liquid crystal displays and cathode ray tubes. "When certain companies and management employees have already admitted participating in, or are indicted for, global price-fixing cartels involving components that Nokia has purchased, it is reasonable for Nokia to seek redress," added the spokeswoman.

A year ago, Sharp, Chunghwa and LG Display were fined after the US Department of Justice found them guilty of fixing prices. Other claimants have filed civil suits in the US, Nokia said, adding that it had "no further details to share at this time" including how much it was seeking.

It alleges in the complaint that the prices were fixed higher than a competitive market rate for a decade until December 2006, adding that it was "entitled to treble damages".

The move comes a little over a month after Nokia sued Apple Corp, alleging that the latter's iconic iPhone handset breached copyright and Nokia patents, including those covering wireless data, security and encryption. The group said Apple was trying to get "a free ride" off Nokia's back.