LG Electronics has filed a patent infringement suit against Hisense, a major Chinese television manufacturer. The lawsuit is the first case since LG sued a Chinese TV company 12 years ago.
LG announced on Nov. 4 that it has filed a TV-related patent infringement lawsuit with a district court in California against Hisense. “Most of Hisense’s TV products sold in the United States infringed on LG patents,” said an LG official, adding that the Chinese TV maker breached LG’s four patented technologies which enhance user convenience. They included those that improve user interface and speed up data transmission based on Wi-Fi. LG has sued the U.S. and Chinese branches of the Chinese TV maker.
LG reportedly sent a warning letter to Hisense several times earlier this year, requesting it to stop its patent violations and to resolve the issue through negotiations. However, the Chinese TV maker responded to LG’s requests insincerely, which led LG to take legal action.
LG has rarely filed a patent lawsuit against a Chinese TV manufacture. The latest lawsuit is the first case in 12 years since the company filed a patent infringement lawsuit with a U.S. court in 2007 against TCL, a Chinese company. Samsung Electronics has never taken any legal action against a Chinese company over its patents.
Thanks to the strong sales of its low-priced liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions, Hisense has rapidly grown to become the world’s fourth-largest TV manufacturer. Some observers say LG has decided to take a strong stance to keep Chinese TV manufacturers in check and to establish the market order. According to HIS Market, a market research institute, Samsung Electronics ranked first with 22.2 percent in terms of shipment in the North American market in the first half of this year, and TCL, a Chinese company, came in second with 21.2 percent. Vizio, a U.S. company, and LG were overtaken by TCL and dropped to third and fourth place with 14.3 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively.
Last year LG took third place with 13.3 percent, following Samsung with 23.8 percent and Vizio with 13.9 percent, in annual shipments in the North American market. TCL recorded 21.2 percent in the first half of this year, a huge increase from 12.7 percent last year and 9.9 percent in 2017. Hisense also made a big increase from 8.3 percent last year and 5.6 percent in 2017.
Meanwhile, LG’s latest lawsuit is considered to be in line with its strong position towards its rivals. Recently LG filed a complaint with Korea’s Fair Trade Commission against Samsung, alleging that its QLED TV marketing campaign was misleading consumers. In September, the company filed patent infringement lawsuits against three European home appliance manufacturers.