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Hitachi Loses Royalty Bid on TPV High-Definition TV Sales

Hitachi Ltd. lost a U.S. patent-infringement trial in which it sought as much as four years of royalty payments from TPV Technology Ltd. on sales of high-definition televisions.

A federal jury in Marshall, Texas, last week said TPV, the world’s fourth-largest maker of LCD televisions, didn’t infringe four Hitachi patents and that two of them were invalid.

The dispute is over inventions related to an industrywide standard for a process to transmit digital audio and visual signals, as well as program data, over the airwaves. Hitachi claimed that televisions made by TPV and its units infringed the company’s patents.

TPV sells televisions under its own brands AOC and Envision, according to information on the company’s website. It also took over Royal Philips Electronics NV’s television operation last year. LCD televisions generated $3.7 billion in sales, about a third of TPV’s total revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

TPV denied infringing the patents and claimed at least some of them were invalid. Hong Kong-based TPV also is the world’s biggest contract maker of computer monitors.

Tokyo-based Hitachi ended 56 years of TV manufacturing last year as part of a turnaround from a record loss three years ago amid falling prices for the electronics. It outsources manufacturing while still selling Hitachi-branded TVs.

Hitachi’s consumer products division generated sales of 787 billion yen ($7.9 billion), or 8 percent of the company’s revenue, in the 12 months ending March 31, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Vizio Inc., which sells low-cost televisions, also was named in the case before the two sides signed a settlement agreement on April 1.

The case is Hitachi Consumer Electronics Co. v. Top Victory Electronics (Taiwan) Co., 10cv260, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

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