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LG Electronics and GE Consumer & Industrial have entered into a cross-licensing agreement that will allow the companies to use each other's patents for refrigerators and cooking appliances without paying licensing fees.
"We believe that this licensing arrangement with GE will enhance our ability to deliver winning products and move us further toward our goal of becoming one of the top global brands in consumer electronics and home appliances," said Young Ha Lee, president/CEO of LG Electronics Digital Appliance. "Our long history of working together with GE will help us take advantage of this agreement even more quickly."
LG and GE have collaborated on the development of cooking appliances and technologies since 1999, LG said.
"This agreement is part of a win-win strategy for both GE and LG," noted Lynn Pendergrass, president/CEO, GE Consumer & Industrial's Americas division. "We expect the synergies resulting from the strong relationship between our two companies will contribute substantially to the success of both GE and LG."
LG said the pact will help both companies strengthen their competitiveness worldwide and aid LG as it expands its majap market presence globally.
LG has previously entered into partnerships with other leading companies to build its technology and customer base. In 2000 the company partnered with Matsushita's air conditioning division and in 2001 allied itself with Microsoft and Intel in the home networking sector.
Not all of LG's vendor relationships are as cordial. The company is currently being investigated by the International Trade Commission (ITC) for alleged patent infringement following a complaint filed in January by Whirlpool. The world's largest majap maker claimed that LG is using its proprietary technologies in its French door and side-by-side refrigerators, and is asking the ITC to issue an order preventing LG from importing and selling infringing products in the United States — which it said represent the majority of LG's refrigeration sales here.
In a statement, LG responded that it is "proud of its commitment to innovation" and is "cooperating fully with the ITC investigation and is confident that it will prevail in this matter."