US ITC Initiates LCD Screen Patent Investigation

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The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to investigate a patent complaint on the import of some cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) inverter circuits used in laptop screens and other LCD displays.

The so-called section 337 complaint, filed by O2 Micro on Dec. 15, asks the ITC to ban the import of the CCFL inverter circuits by five companies and their subsidiaries: Monolithic Power Systems, Microsemi, AsusTek Computer, LG Electronics and BenQ. The circuits provide power to CCFLs.

O2's complaint accuses the five companies of importing products containing LCD (liquid crystal display) screens that violate a series of patents owned by the company, the ITC said in a news release.

None of the five companies named in the complaint immediate responded to requests for comments on the investigation.

The ITC has not made a decision on the merits of the case. A hearing will be scheduled, after which an administrative law judge will determine whether there have been violations of U.S. trade law. The judge's decision is subject to review by the ITC.

Within 45 days after start of the investigation, the ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation.

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