Computer maker Dell has filed suit in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco against Toshiba, Sharp, Hitachi, Seiko Epson, and Taiwan’s HannStar, claiming the companies have conspired as a cartel to fix the prices of LCD displays. According to Reuters, Dell has not specified the amount of damages it is seeking to recover in the suit.
The suit alleges the five companies have engaged in unfair competition and violations of antitrust law. According to Bloomberg, Dell claims the price fixing goes all the way back to 1996.
In 2008, Sharp pled guilty and agreed to pay $120 million in fines over LCD price fixing as the result of a long-running federal investigation; the same investigation saw executives from Taiwain’s Chunghwa and South Korea’s LG draw jail time for their roles in the cartel. In 2009, Hitachi also plead guilty to LCD price fixing on display panels it sold to Dell, and agreed to pay a $31 million fine. Dell’s suit apparently draws on information in the plea agreements for these cases, in which the companies admited to overcharging Dell for LCD panels.
In a similar suit, Nokia is suiing LCD makers like Samsung and LG for conspiring to fix the prices of LCD displays used in phones and other mobile devices.