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Test Equipment Maker Sues Hewlett

May 19, 1988|VICTOR F. ZONANA | Times Staff Writer

Wiltron, a small maker of test equipment, filed suit against Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday, charging the industry giant with violating antitrust laws in monopolizing the $110-million-a-year market for a type of microwave analysis equipment.

Wiltron, which is based in Morgan Hill, Calif., said it brought the suit after Hewlett-Packard claimed that Wiltron was infringing H-P patents and threatened to bring a lawsuit of its own against Wiltron.

Hewlett-Packard officials in Palo Alto declined immediate comment, saying that their attorneys had not had a chance to review Wiltron's complaint.

Microwave vector network analyzers, the equipment at issue in the suit, are sophisticated instruments that measure the characteristics of microwaves emitted by or passing through a wide range of devices. They can be used to test everything from microwave telephone transmissions to radar installations to the cooking accuracy of microwave ovens.

The complaint by Wiltron alleged a range of "reprehensible, unlawful and coldly calculated" acts by Hewlett-Packard to cripple Wiltron's ability to compete. Wiltron alleged that Hewlett-Packard disparaged Wiltron's products, offered discriminatory price breaks to selected customers and announced new products "long before delivery of such products reasonably could have been anticipated."

Wiltron also charged that Hewlett-Packard formed so-called SWAT teams designed to "Stop Wiltron Advances Today."

Separately, Hewlett-Packard reported Wednesday its second-quarter earnings rose 25% to $202 million, from $162 million in the same period a year earlier.

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