HannStar Display and Sharp Sign Patent Sharing Agreement

HannStar Display (HSD) signed a patent sharing agreement with Sharp . Each other’s patents related to LCDs will be shared and is retroactive to January 1, 2007 and will expire on December 31, 2011. This might be in response to the current litigation underway. Sharp sued HSD in a Japanese court in January 2007 regarding overdue license fees. Five months later, in June 2007, Sharp filed a complaint in a US court alleging patent infringements against HSD, HANNspree, and HANNspree California.

The patent sharing agreement, most likely, will be more beneficial toward Sharp. In my opinion, HSD signed the agreement in response to overdue license fees and alleged patent infringements. Sharp probably has substantially more patents related to LCDs, but HSD probably has some IPS-related patents that Sharp does not currently have. This might be in response to IPS Alpha, a LCD joint venture among Matsushita Electric, Toshiba, Hitachi Displays and a 100% owned subsidiary of Hitachi, that has seen some activity recently.

Bloomberg reported on December 25, 2007 that Matsushita might purchase Toshiba’s stake in IPS Alpha to about 45%. Matsushita is known for its Panasonic brand, which has been focused on manufacturing plasma display panel (PDP) based TVs. This move will allow Matsushita to gain more influence in the LCD TV market. Currently, Matsushita has 30% share of IPS Alpha while Hitachi has 50% and Toshiba has 15%. IPS Alpha’s Gen 6 Mobara plant is located in Chiba Prefecture, Japan and is expected to increase its annual production capability by 20%.

Source: DigiTimes, Bloomberg

[tags]HANNspree, HannStar, Sharp, Display Manufacturer, IPS Alpha, LCD TV, Matsushita, Plasma Display Panel, PDP, Plasma TV, PDP TV, Toshiba[/tags]

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