At Tokyo District Court Matsushita is seeking an injunction to halt sales in Japan of plasma display panels (PDP) made by the South Korean company LG Electronics Inc. which panels Matsushita says violate its Japanese patents. This legal action impacts sales only in Japan. "Only several hundred PDPs of LG's global PDP exports are shipped into Japan every month so it will have little impact on total sales and profitability," LG said. An LG spokesman said the company exported more than 100,000 PDPs globally in October, 2004.
There have been previous IP disputes over PDP technology. In April, 2004, Tokyo Customs agreed to temporarily halt imports of PDPs produced by Samsung SDI Co. of South Korea after receiving a complaint from Japanese company Fujitsu Ltd. about possible patent infringements. Samsung and Fujitsu settled in June, 2004. They had been filing lawsuits and counter-lawsuits in the United States and Japan. In June 2004, Sharp Corp., the world's largest liquid crystal display (LCD) TV maker, said it was suing the Japanese unit of Taiwan appliance maker TECO Electric and Machinery Co, alleging patent infringement on LCD technology.
In 2003, Matsushita and LG Electronics were the world's largest and second-largest PDP television makers, with market shares of 15.1 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively, according to research firm iSuppli. Matsushita sees worldwide demand for plasma TVs growing to 10 million units in the 2008/09 business year from an estimated 2.7 million units this business year ending March 2005.