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Hewlett-Packard sues Acer for patent infringement

Dispute involves five patents for technology HP says the smaller PC company is using without permission.

In a clash between two of the world's biggest computer companies, Hewlett-Packard is suing Acer for patent infringement.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, seeks to prevent Acer from selling computers in the U.S. Both Acer and its U.S. subsidiary, Acer America, were named in the complaint.

"HP today is taking necessary action to protect its intellectual property against unauthorized use," the company said in a statement. The patents listed in the complaint are numbers 6,501,721; 6,438,697; 6,609,211; 5,892,933; and 5,596,759. They cover technologies such as read/write optical drives, power management in notebooks, and digital bus arrangement, according to copies of the patents filed with the complaint.

An Acer representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Acer is currently the fourth most popular PC company in the world, as measured by market share, but it has been growing over the last several quarters. HP leads the world in PC shipments.

Last year, HP settled a lawsuit with Gateway in which the two rivals each filed suit claiming patent infringement. An HP representative said the Acer lawsuit and patents are unrelated to the patents at issue in the Gateway case.