Sharp sues Hisense over a foreign “gag order” Sharp sues Hisense over a foreign “gag order”

Sharp sues Hisense over a foreign “gag order”

Sharp, a Japanese electronics manufacturer, has filed a lawsuit challenging a foreign gag order that company lawyers say prevents Sharp from talking about its own brand.

 

The dispute is rooted in a licensing deal gone sour between Sharp and Hisense, a fast-growing Chinese maker of televisions and appliances. In financial stress a few years ago, Sharp sold one of its factories to Hisense, along with the rights to sell televisions under the Sharp brand in the North American market for five years.

According to Sharp, Hisense quickly lowered its manufacturing quality and started shipping sub-standard televisions under the Sharp brand. In April, Sharp, now owned by Taiwan-based Foxconn, said that it was terminating the trademark licensing deal. Hisense filed a notice of arbitration with the Singapore International Arbitration Center, which is the dispute resolution agreed upon by the parties in their licensing deal. In June, Sharp filed a lawsuit (PDF) in California state court seeking to terminate the licensing agreement.

“First of its kind” case

Shortly after it was filed, the Singapore arbitration took a surprising turn. On May 9, the arbitrator issued an "emergency" interim award preventing Sharp from making any public statements about the dispute.

Now Sharp lawyers are challenging what they call the "gag order" in court, saying that it violates the Constitution. The key portion of the order is reproduced in Sharp's complaint, filed in District of Columbia Federal Court on Tuesday. It says Sharp must refrain from "disparaging [Hisense] and/or disrupting its business, including by making public statements or press releases about this arbitration and/or the dispute" between the parties.

"I've never seen anything like it," Randy Miller, the attorney representing Sharp, said in an interview with Ars. "This is not the way our free market economy works. It depends on vibrant and robust commercial speech. You can point out comparisons, or shortcomings, in a competitor's product—the First Amendment protects that."

Miller believes the gag order would be unconstitutional even if it applied equally to both parties, but the arbitrator only put limits on Sharp's speech. It also specifically prevents Sharp from talking to regulatory agencies like the FCC.

"The idea that we have a muzzle on our face, even when speaking to federal regulators, really seems off into another solar system," Miller said. "No matter how this settles out, it is a first of its kind case."

Sharp's lawsuit asks for a judicial order declaring the gag order "not recognizable or enforceable in the United States."

So what is it that Sharp wants to say, exactly? Miller, who's focused on his client's commercial speech rights, didn't get into that. But court records in the earlier-filed California case give some strong hints.

In June, Hisense lawyers filed a motion (PDF) describing Sharp's allegations about the Hisense-made, Sharp-branded products. Sharp has claimed that the brightness measurements on some products were not as advertised; that the radiation emitted from the products violates FCC standards; that an internal wire harness threatens consumer safety; and that the advertisement of screen size and resolution violates FTC standards.

Hisense didn't respond to e-mailed requests for comment about the lawsuit.

 

Shared from: Ars Technica

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

back to top

iScope

Boldstart Founder Launches Hyperledger Fabric's First Blockchain Accelerator

The founder of VC firm Boldstart Ventures is launching the first accelerator dedicated exclusively to startups building on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain.

CNN launches daily news show on Snapchat

CNN on Monday began streaming "The Update," a daily show on Snapchat featuring at least five news stories each episode from reporters and bureaus around the world, to attract younger viewers.

Quora now launches retargeting for advertisers

Quora’s newly launched ads platform now supports retargeting ads on the question-and-answer network.

Facebook faces scare that teens are going to Snapchat and Instagram. Again.

 Now playing on the internet: the episode in which everyone freaks out that young people are abandoning Facebook in favor of hot new social media services like Snap and Instagram.

IBM partners with Walmart, Unilever, Nestlé, and other food giants, to apply blockchain tech to food supply chains

They will be aiming to use blockchains to maintain secure digital records and improve the traceability of their foodstuffs

Blockchain can make social networks more private — and profitable for you

Fact: You’re going to spend a total of five years of your life on social media. But- is blockchain answer to everything?

The HuffPost’s tabloid-style homepage is paying dividends

The move was designed to deliver what Polgreen described as “a visceral snapshot of the day.”

Dashbot’s codeless Twitter Integration is now live!

Integrate your DM bot without code and in 10 seconds.

50 Bitcoin Exchanges Have Filed with the Japanese Financial Authority

In April, the Japanese government amended its fund settlement law to recognize bitcoin as a legal means of payment

Billionaire Calvin Ayre Acquires Crypto Media Outlet Coingeek

  The plan is for Calvinayre.com to continue to cover Bitcoin news as it relates to the gaming industry

Asus Debuts Specialized Motherboard for Cryptocurrency Miners

"Cryptocurrency and blockchain are here to stay"

Chatbot That Helps Users Appeal Parking Tickets Comes To U.S.

A chatbot called DoNotPay that helps users appeal parking tickets for free in the U.K. is now available in the United States.

How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot

Chatbot is designed to answer faster than a human could.

How Blockchain Is Monetizing User’s Experience and Skills

Generating value is the key concept sustaining the explosion of Blockchain offerings in 2017.

Bezos on Amazon’s AI and Machine Learning Strategy

[It's all about] enabling other organizations to leverage the game-changer that is machine learning.

Mongolia's Hottest New Social App Is All About Horses

Although cowboy culture is mostly nostalgia in the United States these days, many rural Mongolians still rely on their horses in daily life. In Mongolia, horsemanship is one of the most celebrated aspects of their culture, even on social media. "If we...

Startups could be key to fixing tech's diversity problem

Silicon Valley companies are learning a hard lesson: They can't escape their attitude problems.

Android Oreo released by Google

Google has released the latest version of its Android mobile operating system (OS), which will be named after Oreo chocolate biscuits.

How RBC is using a blockchain to overhaul its loyalty program

“We see loyalty as a great use case for blockchain to allow us to provide customers more real-time access to rewards points to provide an almost Starbucks-like experience.”

Why finance brands are so hot on content marketing

Content is one way to make people return to their site to see new updates, buy new products and invest more money.

Reddit now allows users to upload videos

Videos are coming to Reddit, thanks to a new feature that allows users to upload video clips directly to the service.

Sharp sues Hisense over a foreign “gag order”

Sharp, a Japanese electronics manufacturer, has filed a lawsuit challenging a foreign gag order that company lawyers say prevents Sharp from talking about its own brand.

How A Police Body Camera Company Is Becoming An Artificial Intelligence Company

Like most technology companies today, Axon’s goal is to collect data; the free body camera trial is just another avenue to generate and collect more of it.

Mic Lays Off Dozens Just a Week After Promising Not To

A number of online outlets, including Mashable, Vice, and MTV News, have recently slashed their writing staffs to focus on producing visual content

Kit Kat accused of copying Atari game

Kit Kat's maker Nestle has been accused of copying Breakout, the 1970s computer game, in a marketing campaign.

YouTube TV expands to 14 new markets

YouTube is broadening access to live TV streaming as younger viewers increasingly watch shows online and traditional broadcast networks grapple with aging demographics among viewers.

Hyundai looks to build a >300-mile-range electric car

More carmakers are looking toward electric vehicles as fuel cell falters

Why Bancor Wants To Become The YouTube Of Cryptocurrency

If Bancor overcomes the initial scandals (it shortchanges its users' by rounding token values) Bancor could reshape the cryptocurrency marketplace as we know it.

The best of Siri: 11 funny responses from the iPhone's virtual assistant

Since its launch in 2011, Siri has become increasingly intelligent, and can now hold basic two-way conversations with users.

How Yogscast built a media empire

The newer generation doesn’t want to be told how to do things, they want to see it.

Skype’s new look arrives on the desktop in preview form

The chat-focused update comes with new features for messaging and calls.

Subscribe to the Business Brief Newsletter

Get our complimentary briefing, featuring news & analysis of the business trends and practices.
Terms and Conditions