Dell sues 5 LCD company “cartel”

Dell ended last week by filing legal action against five Asian tech companies accused of actively participating in LCD price-fixing that unfairly inflated costs for Dell.

The U.S. tech company believes five companies from Japan and Taiwan have created an unfair LCD cartel that drove up prices, though it’s unsure how much monetary restitution Dell is seeking in the case.

Specifically, Dell plans to take Sharp, Toshiba, Hitachi, Seiko Epson and HannStar Display to court “on behalf of itself and its affiliates to recover for antitrust and other harms arising from billions of dollars of purchases at artificially inflated prices, over several years, of thin film transistor-liquid crystal display panels, or products containing TFT-LCD panels.”

Dell sues 5 LCD company "cartel"

The lawsuit was recently filed in a San Francisco district court, but the case could drag on for years.

Several Asian LCD companies have come under fire for their role in well-established LCD price-fixing schemes, with Hitachi, Sharp, LG, and Chunghwa forced to pay upwards of $585 million in fines.  In addition to financial punishment, several executives from Chunghwa, LG, and Hitachi were also sentenced to jail terms for their role in the price fixing.

The U.S. Department of Justice will continue to target price fixing and other illegal behavior from LCD manufacturers — and may impose an even stricter punishment on Sharp and Hitachi.  Sharp paid a $120 million fine a few years ago, with Hitachi agreeing to pay $31 million.

Considering the amount of revenue generated from price fixing, the DoJ will likely have to take a harder stance to prevent continued price-fixing violations.