US suit accuses Sony, LG, others of price fixing

Major optical disc drive (ODD) players including Hitachi, LG, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, have been accused of price fixing by a U.S. electronics retailer, which has filed suit against the companies, according to various reports.
East Haven, Conn.-based Prisco Electric Company last week initiated an antitrust suit with the Californian Northern District Court against the Japanese and Korean makers, alleging the vendors colluded since October 2005 to "fix, raise, maintain and stabilize the price of optical disc drive products sold in the United States", said in its report.
"These defendants have a long history of engaging in anticompetitive conduct, such as Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) and Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)," Prisco added in the filing.
The retailer also claimed the disc-drive makers tapped trade organization forums to meet and negotiate agreements to keep prices of CD, DVD and Blu-ray drives used in products such as Sony's PlayStation 3 and PCs, artificially high, reported Computerworld.
"When the price of ODD began to dip, the defendants entered into an illegal agreement to prevent competitors from entering into the market and to keep prices at a supra-competitive level," Prisco noted in the suit.
According to the filing, the defendants own over 90 percent market share of the U.S. ODD market, which is worth billions of dollars a year.
The Computerworld report added that Prisco was looking for triple damages, as well as an injunction against the companies involved to stop future price fixing activities. The retailer, however, did not give a specific amount.
In a lawsuit, triple or treble damages is a term used to denote the plaintiff's request for the court to award triple the amount of actual damages incurred.
In October 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division issued a subpoena to Sony subsidiary, Sony Optiarc America, as part of its investigation into anticompetitive practices in the optical disc drive market.