Korea’s two biggest electronics giants are locked in patent battles that the Korean government would like to see dissipate to return the focus to innovation, rather than litigation. Japanese and Chinese display manufacturers are making inroads into the global market, currently dominated by Korean manufacturers and the government would like to see its domestic manufacturers put their differences aside to prevent a weakening of their market hold both in Korea and overseas.
In the latest legal action Samsung Display has filed a suit against LG Display, claiming that three of its patents are invalid, due to lack of innovation and novelty. This is in response to LG’s claim last month that three of its patents had been infringed by Samsung in its Galaxy Note 10.1. It claimed that LG’s In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology had been copied by Samsung. Samsung has claimed that the three patents in question had already been registered by other manufacturers. A Samsung spokesman claimed, “Foreign firms such as Hitachi Electronics of Japan have already registered patents on the same technology,” according to the YonHap News.
Korean policy makers are reportedly concerned that the country “cannot afford this conflict to escalate” as Japanese and Taiwanese display makers are making steady advancements in their own display technologies.
Legal battles between Samsung and LG have become a regular feature of the Korean tech landscape in recent times. Last November Samsung filed a patent invalidation suit against seven LG OLED patents. Two months earlier, LG filed an infringement claim against Samsung, claiming that seven of its OLED patents relating to the design of the OLED panel, driver circuitry and overall design. LG is seeking damages and permanent injunctions against the sale of Samsung's Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab 7.7 in South Korea.
Along with patent suits both Samsung and LG have made claims against several employees in the last year, amid claims that technology has been leaked to competitors, both in Korea and overseas. Samsung also reported last September that two of its OLED TVs were 'lost' en-route to the IFA exhibition in Berlin. Unconfirmed claims of industrial espionage have been cited.
As was made clear at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there will be a lot of action in the TV Market over the next 12 months, with all top brands releasing new smart and screen technologies. Maintaining an edge in this market is vital, and being locked in legal disputes could put the brakes on innovation, and be more disruptive in the long run.