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South Korea’s Samsung SDI Co. said Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit against Japan’s Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and its Panasonic unit for alleged violation of patents related to plasma-screen technology. Samsung SDI, the world’s largest maker of the flat screens widely used in televisions, said in a statement it filed the suit in U.S. district court in California on Monday for alleged violation of nine patents related to plasma-screen technology. Talks to resolve the dispute with Matsushita after nine failed sessions of negotiations led to the lawsuit, Samsung SDI said in the statement. In Tokyo, a Matsushita spokesman, who gave his surname as Kadota, said the company couldn’t comment because it hadn’t seen the written complaint. Patent-infringement suits filed by Japanese and South Korean technology companies are increasing, as they seek to protect their interests in the fast-growing field of digital consumer electronics. Demand for plasma screens is rising sharply as consumers are eager to replace their bulky cathode ray tube TVs with slimmer flat-screen alternatives. Samsung SDI settled a similar lawsuit with Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd. in June by agreeing to share patents related to plasma display panels. The two companies agreed to cross license their plasma patents for five years. Samsung SDI had filed a patent claim against Fujitsu in late February with a U.S. court in Los Angeles. In April, Fujitsu said it filed lawsuits against three Samsung Group companies in U.S. Federal District Court in Los Angeles, and against Samsung Japan Corp. in the Tokyo District Court. Fujitsu sought a provisional injunction against future imports and sales of Samsung SDI’s products in Japan. In late April, the Tokyo Customs authority accepted Fujitsu’s request to temporarily halt imports of plasma display panels made by Samsung SDI. In November 2004, Matsushita filed for a court injunction to halt Japan sales of plasma screens made by LG Electronics Inc., claiming the South Korean company was infringing on its patents. But subsequently in April this year, the two companies signed a cross-licensing agreement, settling their dispute. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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