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HP files price-fixing lawsuit against 7 DVD, Blu-ray drive makers

Hewlett-Packard has filed a lawsuit against seven leading manufacturers of DVD and Blu-ray disc drives, alleging they colluded to fix market prices, conspiring to artificially inflate the drives' prices over a six-year period, from 1 January 2004 to 1 January 2010

The lawsuit, filed in the federal southern district court of Houston, targets the optical disk drive subsidiaries of Toshiba, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, NEC, TEAC and Quanta Storage.

"During the conspiracy period, defendants and their co-conspirators controlled more than 90% of the ODD market," the filing said. "Additionally, defendants and their co-conspirators belong to or control patent pools that effectively deter entry into the ODD market by imposing high licensing costs on required technology."

In its court filing, HP named the 3C DVD Patent Group, which covers patents related to the Blu-ray format, and several patent pools related to CD technology.

HP also accuses the ODD makers to use trade shows such as the Consumer Electronics Show and the Optical Storage Symposium as 'cover' to communicate competitive information and hammer out anticompetitive agreements.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal reported that, in a plea deal, HLDS (a joint venture between Hitachi and LG Electronics) admitted to "felonious price-fixing conduct with co-conspirators" between November 2005 and March 2009.

HP is seeking an injunction and unspecified damages.

Story filed 30.10.13

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