Taiwan's TPK sues over touch panel tech in Nokia, Huawei phones

Taiwanese touch panel manufacturer TPK files lawsuits over a pair of handsets made by Nokia and Huawei respectively, that it claims infringed on its touch screen patents.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Taiwanese touch panel maker TPK Holding said it filed two patent infringement lawsuits against five companies in China, including Finnish handset maker Nokia and some Chinese partners of Nokia and Huawei.

In its lawsuits filed at a Xiamen court, TPK also sought to ban the sale of handsets and is seeking damages of 26.91 million yuan (US$4.32 million) each from Nokia and its partners, and 66 million yuan (US$10.6 million) each from Huawei's partners, Taipei Times reported Thursday.

TPK said Nokia's Lumia 610 smartphone contained parts that illegally incorporated its patents to produce thinner and lighter touchscreens. This "one-glass-solution" technology is also used in making touch panels for tablet computers, it added.

The lawsuit against Nokia also included the Finnish company's Taiwanese manufacturer for the Lumia 610, Compal Communications, and Chinese electronics retail chain Suning Appliance Co, which sells the phone in Xiamen.

The other lawsuit involved the Huawei C8821E smartphone, which TPK said also contained a touchscreen that infringed on its patents. Hence it is suing Huawei's Shenzhen-based touch panel supplier, O-film Tech Co, as well as Xiamen Zhongbo Trade Co, which sells that phone.

According to Taipei Times, this is the first time in TPK's 10-year history that it filed a patent lawsuit.

An official from TPK's legal department said the lawsuits aim to create a stable and fair environment for its customers and the whole touch panel industry, and also have a reasonable return on its research and development.

"We will not rule out the possibility of resolving the patent disputes by signing cross-licensing agreements with those companies, or by charging royalties," he said, adding that initial rulings on patent infringement cases usually come within 10 months to 15 months.

TPK may file similar lawsuits against Nokia other than in China if the company collects sufficient proof, the official said.

The company owns about 400 patents and has 1,000 new patents under review. It also invested more than NT$10 billion (US$344.8 million) in developing new technologies over the last three years, the report said.

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