Apple Reportedly Investing in Sharp LCD Plant

HTC sues Apple over patent infringements

In the wake of yesterday’s news that the iPad 3 launch will likely be delayed until 2012 due to problems manufacturing the tablet’s high-resolution display panels, Reuters is reporting that Apple may be investing in a Sharp plant in Japan that manufactures LCD screens for iPads and iPhones.

“We think it is highly possible that Apple will make an investment in Sharp's Kameyama plant to the tune of around $1 billion in order to secure a stable supply of screens for iPhones and iPads,” Global FXA Securities analyst David Rubenstein wrote in a sales note. In addition to the reported Sharp investment, Apple also recently invested in a Toshiba LCD factory.

One of the driving factors in Apple’s new investments is the company’s ongoing dispute with Samsung, a major supplier of Apple parts. Other manufacturers—especially chip makers—are now hoping that the Samsung dispute will lead to further diversification. “If the situation escalates into a state of war, this could mean a huge shift in orders,” said one source.

Meanwhile, Apple is embroiled in yet another patent dispute with smartphone maker HTC. The New York Post reported that HTC has sued Apple over alleged patent infringements and is attempting to halt U.S. imports and sales of Apple computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones, and other devices because of alleged patent infringements.

The lawsuits, which claim that Apple infringed upon three HTC patents related to Wi-Fi and other phone functions, seek compensatory damages as well as triple damages for willful infringement.