Google's Motorola Mobility defeated in most of antitrust case

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Jan 24, 2014 10:45 PM EST

The Motorola Mobility unit of search giant Google Inc unit lost majority of an antitrust case it filed against Samsung Electronics Ltd, Sharp Corp and other manufacturers of liquid crystal displays or LCDs it claimed conspired to fix prices, Bloomberg reported.

Motorola Mobility, a mobile phone maker, alleged that it suffered when the defendants rigged the prices of LCDs purchased by Motorola affiliates located outside the US and then utilized later for phones sold both domestically and abroad. However, a judge ruled yesterday that most of the economic transactions happened were done outside the US and were not covered by antitrust law, the report said.

US District Judge Joan B. Gottschall in Chicago ruled, "The undisputed facts show that the transactions were overwhelmingly foreign in nature."

Based in Schaumburg, Illinois, Motorola Inc alleged that the defendants worked together for a decade to bring up the prices of these LCD panels and lodged the case in 2009. The company then spun off its division that made mobile phones which Google later purchased, the report said.

Citing the filings of the defense, Judge Gottschall determined that over 99% of the LCD purchases covered in the case were done by the overseas affiliates of Motorola which then handed over their claims to the US-based firm, the report said.

In documents submitted to the court on September 20, the lawyers for the defense had said, "Less than 1 percent of the $5.4 billion in commerce at issue here -- $43 million -- actually involves sales to Motorola in the United States."

However, Liberty, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility Spokesperson Will Moss said in a statement that they disagreed with the ruling of the court and were thinking of their next steps.

Similar conspiracies have also been the subject of other lawsuits. A judge fined $500 million to AU Optronics Corp in 2012 for conspiring with its competitors to rig the prices of LCDs. In August last year, Hewlett-Packard Co withdrew a case it had filed against other LCD manufacturers, the report said.

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