A PYMNTS Company

US: Dismissed antitrust feud between Samsung, Panasonic revived

 |  April 7, 2014

A lawsuit filed by South Korea-based Samsung Electronics alleging Japan’s Panasonic to be illegally monopolizing the SD card market has been reinstated by a federal appeals court after being dismissed by a lower court.

The lawsuit, first filed in 2010, introduced a debate as to when the clock starts ticketing for court challenges following patent licensing agreements.

Panasonic first developed SD memory cards in 1999 and began licensing them to rivals four years after, in 2003, for a six-percent royalty fee. At the time, Samsung was producing its own competing technology but signed Panasonic’s licensing agreement, say reports.

When Panasonic updated its products in 2006, Samsung reportedly refused to sign a new agreement in 2006, though continued to pay royalties.

It was then that Samsung filed a lawsuit against Panasonic, alleging those new license agreements were attempts to harm competition. But in question was whether Samsung had filed its lawsuit within the four-year deadline to challenge the agreements – courts disagreed as to whether the clock began when Panasonic began its 2003 licensing or when it updated its licensing agreements in 2006.

A federal judge had earlier dismissed the case, but the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the 2003 licenses did not cover the updated technology nor “expansion to future technological developments.” Judge Ronald Gould released the decision after a 3-0 ruling.

”The law does not require a potential plaintiff to foresee the kind of dramatic and rapid technological changes that took place over the last decade to recover damages for antitrust harm,” Judge Gould wrote.

Full Content: SF Gate

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.