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HP fires sue-ray at makers of Blu-Ray

Price fixing optical disk-makers in lawyers' sights

HP is seeking damages from the optical drive industry, filing antitrust complaints against pretty much the whole of the supply side of the industry.

A similar complaint was filed earlier this year by Dell.

Both cases ultimately stem from Department of Justice investigations which ended with the Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDSI) joint venture owning up to price fixing and bid-rigging for its optical drives.

That resulted in charges, convictions, criminal fines well into the millions, and jail time for a sales manager at HLDSI, Woo Jin “Eugene” Yang. With the settlement with the Department of Justice setting the factual basis of their cases, the PC industry now wants its pound of flesh back.

HP's complaint includes the accusation that vendors used trade shows like CES and the Optical Storage Symposium as handy venues to pass information around and set prices for disk drives sold to US-based PC vendors.

According to HP's complaint, the illegal confabs conducted beneath the noise of the legal trade shows let the vendors “fix, raise, stabilize and maintain” disk drive prices, according to Bloomberg. The price-fixing included drives capable of using CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.

Courthouse News explains that the federal antitrust complaints are consolidated into two filings with Toshiba as lead defendant in one (joined by Samsung, Sony, NEC, Panasonic. TEAC and Quanta Storages), while in the other, LG Electronics is joined as defendant by the HDLSI venture, Philips, Lite-On IT, BenQ, the Philips-BenQ Digital Storage joint venture, Pioneer and Sharp. ®

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