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US probes Toyota and Panasonic over patent infringement

Broadcom sought action on vehicle entertainment devices

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. International Trade Commission is launching an investigation into products made by Japanese companies including Toyota Motor and Panasonic over alleged patent infringement in vehicle entertainment systems.

The probe, which comes in response to a complaint by U.S. chipmaker Broadcom, also covers autoparts maker Denso Ten, chip supplier Renesas Electronics and their American subsidiaries.

The ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation within 45 days after the probe begins.

Broadcom claimed violations of section 337 of the 1930 Tariff Act. If the claim is upheld, U.S. sales and imports of the Japanese companies' products could be halted.

Seeking action from the ITC on alleged patent infringement has often been used by companies to try to eliminate competing products.

South Korean smartphone maker Samsung Electronics filed a complaint with the ITC against Apple in the past.

Akane Okutsu in Tokyo contributed to this report

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