Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

EPSON PLEADS GUILTY TO AND PAYS $26 MILLION FINE FOR ITS ROLE IN GLOBAL LCD PRICE-FIXING CONSPIRACY

On August 25, 2009, Epson Imaging Devices Corporation (“Epson”), a Japanese electronics manufacturer, pled guilty for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices in the sale of Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (“TFT-LDC”) panels and agreed to pay a fine of $26 million.

TFT-LCD panels are used in computer monitors, notebooks, televisions, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. Worldwide sales in 2006 were $70 billion.

Specifically, Epson’s subsidiary Seiko Epson Corporation participated in a conspiracy to fix prices of TFT-LCD panels sold to Motorola for use in Motorola Razr mobile phones from the fall of 2005 to the middle of 2006.

On April 27, 2009, Bock Kwon, a high level executive at LG Display Co. Ltd. (“LG”) pled guilty, agreed to serve one year in prison in the United States and pay a criminal fine of $30,000 for his role the same conspiracy. In March 2009, Hitachi Displays, Ltd. pled guilty and agreed to pay a fine of $31 million for its role in the same conspiracy. In January 2009, three former executives of three different electronics manufacturers pled guilty for their roles in a global price fixing conspiracy in the sale of TFT-LCD panels. According to the Department of Justice, these were the first individuals charged in the investigation into the TFT-LCD industry. On November 12, 2008, LG, Sharp Corp., and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. pled guilty for their role in a conspiracy to fix prices for LCD panels and agreed to pay criminal fines totaling $585 million.


Andre Barlow

(202) 589-1834
abarlow@dbmlawgroup.com