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French atomic agency sues Samsung

Alleges LCD patent pinching

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The French government has accused Samsung of infringing patents it holds covering LCD technology and has summoned the South Korean giant to the portentous-sounding Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance to explain itself.

The patents are actually held by France's Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA), which has been building up a portfolio of LCD technology intellectual property for over a decade.

In this particular case, the CEA believes that Samsung LCDs implement its "vertically aligned high contrast" technique, which improves both image quality and widens a panel's viewing angle, and do so without a licence from the CEA.

The agency already has legal action against Samsung pending in the US courts, along with similar cases against Sharp, Sanyo, Fujitsu, Chi Mei and AU Optronics, the last two being Taiwanese LCD makers.

The European action was prompted by Samsung's decision to begin shipping the allegedly infringing LCD screens in France.

In addition to overseeing France's numerous atomic energy facilities, the CEA is also something of an R&D powerhouse, focusing on microelectronics, nanotech and other fields. Last year, was granted 292 patents. ®

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