Hewlett-Packard sues Acer over patents

Hewlett-Packard Co. sued computer maker Acer Inc. on Tuesday accusing the company of illegally using patented HP technology in a variety of desktops, laptops and displays sold in the U.S.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Texas, accuses Taiwan-based Acer of infringing on five patents registered by HP between 1997 and 2003. The patents cover a range of PC technologies involving DVD editing, processing capabilities, and power consumption and efficiency.

Palo-Alto based HP is asking the court for unspecified damages and an injunction prohibiting Acer from selling any of the items that are based on the patented technologies in the U.S.

HP said in a statement that the lawsuit is a "necessary action to protect its intellectual property against unauthorized use. HP respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects the same treatment in return."

An Acer spokeswoman in San Jose did not immediately return a call seeking comment. HP declined to comment on whether it suspects any other computer makers of using the patented technologies.

HP surpassed struggling rival Dell Inc. last year as the No. 1 seller of PCs worldwide. Acer is currently the fourth-largest PC maker in the world, the AP reports.

HP became the world's largest PC vendor in the fourth quarter of last year, according to market researcher IDC. Acer took fourth place, although it clocked the strongest growth by any company in the top ten ranking. Dell Inc. was second, and Lenovo Group Ltd. took third.

The lawsuit may be an attempt to slow Acer's breakneck growth and its expansion in the U.S., according to Henry King, an analyst for Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC in Taipei. He said that Acer is probably protected in the patent dispute by cross-licenses held by the companies that contract manufacture PC products on its behalf. Most major PC companies, including HP, Acer and Dell, farm out production to the same contract manufacturers in Taiwan and China, and the contract manufacturers try to sort out patent issues through cross-licenses, pcworld.com reports.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov