LCD Patent Fight From Asia Sorted Out in U.S.

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge will honor a Korean court ruling in a decade-long dispute between LG Display and a Japanese tech company over LCD technology patents.
     LG said one of its employees developed liquid crystal display technology but then took the work to Japan-based Obayashi Seikou Co. to patent. It said Obayashi and its president, Naoto Hiroto, then tried to strong-arm a licensing fee out of LG.
     In 2003, Obayashi sent warning letters to LG and other technology companies, accusing them of infringing on their patents and threatening to seek injunctions unless they agreed to a licensing agreement.
     While Hitachi settled by signing a $6 million licensing deal, LG sent a warning letter of its own that demanded it take possession of the patents.
     Ultimately the highest court in South Korean, where LG is based, found that Obayashi had agreed to a settlement that gave LG control of the patents and let Hiroto keep the Hitachi deal.
     LG then asked U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington to recognize the Korean ruling.
     Contreras did so under the doctrine of comity, which refers to foreign judicial designs based on respect so long as the judgments are “entered with impartiality and due process.”
     The ruling stopped short of fully giving LG everything it wanted from the original settlement, but only because the Korean judgment failed to address one of the patents, which LG concedes is a “child patent” from an original patent.
     “The defendants point out that the Korean judgment does not specifically mention this patent,” Contreras wrote.
     Obayashi failed to show that the Korean judgment violates the fundamental principles of U.S. contract law, and refused to stay the case pending the outcome of Japanese litigation over the patents.
     “Although details are lacking, it appears that LG sued to enforce the Korean judgment insofar as it pertains to patents registered in Japan,” Contreras wrote. “Accordingly, the court will recognize the Korean judgment under the doctrine of comity.”
     Contreras also agreed to dismiss LG’s claims against its former employee, Sakae Tanaka, based on a lack of personal jurisdiction.

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