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June 9, 2008 11:02 am

HP, Acer resolve all patent disputes

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Hewlett Packard and Acer have resolved a wide-ranging patent dispute in a move to limit costs for both companies’ businesses in the US.

HP, the world’s largest computer vendor by shipments, and Acer, the third-largest, said they had settled all ongoing patent litigation.

“The confidential settlement agreement resolves all claims asserted in three federal court lawsuits and two United States International Trade Commission investigations between the parties,” the companies said.

The dispute broke early last year when HP sued Acer and asked for certain products of its rival to be banned from sale in the US. The move followed a period of strong growth in Acer’s US business, which made the Taiwanese company a serious competitor for HP for the first time.

HP held 19.1 per cent of the global computer market in the first quarter of this year, according to IDC statistics. Acer’s market share rose to 9.1 per cent following its acquisition of Gateway, the struggling US brand.

Ranking third in global PC shipments behind Dell, Acer has said it plans to acquire more companies, especially to keep ahead of Lenovo, the Chinese PC maker that ranks fourth in the world.

HP first sued Acer in a Texas district court in March 2007, accusing Acer of violating five patents covering the use of processors, DVD technology and power management in notebook computers.

One month later, the US company filed a complaint against Acer with the same contents at the International Trade Commission.

Acer denied HP’s allegations and counter-sued HP in July 2007 in Texas for the alleged infringement of patents owned by Acer.

In October, the Taiwanese company added another two lawsuits, one in Wisconsin and one at the International Trade Commission, alleging HP had violated more patents covering PCs, servers and peripheral devices.

Acer shares closed 1.2 per cent lower on Monday at T$65.10.

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