• Compiled From Wire Reports

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Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the world’s largest consumer electronics maker, and South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. settled a five-month dispute over alleged infringements on their plasma display technology patents.

Both companies withdrew legal action against each other, and said they would share the technology in a cross-license agreement, according to a joint statement released Monday.

The two firms also said that they would sign cross-licensing agreements in such areas as specifications for personal computers and DVD equipment. They will also set up a committee to discuss greater business cooperation and collaborate in the field of home air conditioners, the statement said.

Plasma display panels are flat-panel screens used for slim televisions and other display monitors, which have an increasing market presence as more people opt to buy flat displays over bulky cathode-ray tube ones.

The two firms opted for an amicable solution in light of the growing competition between PDP makers and manufacturers of liquid crystal displays in the market for flat-panel television sets. They concluded that to win the competition with LCD makers, it would be better for PDP makers to cooperate with each other, LG Electronics officials said.

In a lawsuit filed with the Tokyo District Court on Nov. 1, Matsushita claimed LG Electronics infringed on its patents on a heat radiation technology for PDPs and sought an injunction to suspend the sale of LG Electronics’ panels in Japan.

It also filed a request with customs officials the same day to prevent LG Electronics’s PDPs from entering Japan. This request was granted.

Two days later, LG Electronics responded by requesting a court injunction to bar Matsushita from selling its panels in South Korea. South Korea slapped an import ban on Matsushita’s PDPs late November.

Monday’s announcement marks the second settlement between Japanese and South Korean companies in the past year over plasma display technology.

Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung SDI Co., the world’s biggest maker of plasma displays, and Tokyo-based Fujitsu Ltd. settled their dispute in June by agreeing to cross-license each other’s patents.

Global shipments of plasma display panels are forecast to gain 33 percent to $14.2 billion this year, according to Junzo Masuda, an analyst at ISuppli Corp.

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