Mitsubishi, Samsung, Sony, and Philips have filed a patent suit against low-cost HDTV maker Vizio claiming the company is violating 15 patents key to supporting MPEG-2 video in its products.
The legal action is seeking an order to prevent Vizio from using the patents, as well as financial compensation.
According to the complaint – other parties to which also include Columbia University of New York, Victor Co. of Japan, and Thompson – the individual companies have pursued Vizio about licensing the patents, but the company has refused to deal with them.
It is claimed that Vizio has also declined to discuss the matter with the MPEG Licensing Authority trade group.
In response to the suit, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan on June 2, Vizio said it doesn’t need licenses for the MPEG-2 patents.
It claims its suppliers have licensed the patents and those licenses extend to Vizio’s products.
The company said it will fight the suit and expects its partners will support and cooperate in the defence.
Earlier this year, the MPEG LA trade group filed suit against Target over its Tru-tech brand of televisions (PDF) on similar patent infringement claims.
Vizio has made a name for itself in the US by selling comparatively low-cost high-definition televisions through mass retailers like Wal-mart, Costco, and Circuit City, often substantially undercutting prices for similarly-featured models from competitors. During the first quarter of 2008, Vizio was ranked as the number three seller of LCD televisions by DisplaySearch and iSuppli.