HP And Acer Make Nice, Settle Patent Lawsuit


HP issued a brief, tersely worded statement that said the settlement "resolves all claims asserted in three federal court lawsuits and two U.S. International Trade Commission investigations between the parties. As a result of the settlement agreement, each action will be dismissed as to the parties."

In March 2007, HP sued Acer in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas claiming that Acer infringed upon HP involving five U.S. patents used in desktops and notebooks, desktops and media technology, such as DVD editing tools.

Then in April 2007, HP filed another patent infringement lawsuit against Acer, alleging that the company used HP's patents involving power consumption and temperature control, among other things, in Acer laptops and desktops.

Taiwan-based Acer countersued last July, alleging that HP used Acer technology involving DVD-ROM capabilities. In October 2007, Acer again sued HP in the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin and also with the International Trade Commission, claiming more patent infringements by HP, Palo Alto, Calif. An Acer spokesperson told Reuters that there would not be any financial fallout for either company.

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"The impact from the settlement was not big, and we think both Acer and HP will continue to focus on their core businesses," the Acer spokesman said Monday.

Acer has done more in the past year than just litigate. In September 2007, the company acquired fizzled-out Gateway in a $710 million deal. At the time, Wall Street watchers were somewhat puzzled at the high price tag, saying that the purchase price represented a 57 percent premium.

As part of the acquisition, Gateway, through previous agreements with Packard Bell, gave Acer first rights to acquire Packard Bell. Strategically, the move paid off, as Acer's buy of Packard Bell staved off rival Lenovo, which had said it was looking into acquiring Packard Bell.

After reporting solid first-quarter 2008 financials, Acer ramped up its 2008 PC shipment forecast from 25 million PCs to between 25 million and 30 million PCs this year.

Acer is in third place among global PC makers after HP and Dell, respectively. In the laptop sector, Acer holds the No. 2 slot behind HP.