By Anu Passary | Sep 29, 2012 10:16 AM EDT
The battle between Korean electronics makers LG and Samsung has spilled over into the courtroom. LG Display and Samsung are locking horns in a patent dispute.
On Sept. 27, LG Display filed a lawsuit at the Seoul Central District Court seeking damages and a patent infringement ban against Samsung Display and Samsung Electronics. At a press conference, LG said that it had filed a lawsuit against Samsung at the District Court over five Samsung mobile devices which had violated LG's patents. The Samsung devices which could possibly face an injunction include the Galaxy Tab 7.7, the Galaxy Note, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2HD, and the top-selling Galaxy S3 smartphone.
The lawsuit alleges that Samsung infringed seven patents on the design of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels, device design, and driver circuitry.
"This lawsuit has been filed both to enforce LG Display's intellectual property rights and promote fair competition," LG Display said.
LG Display stated that it would seek damages and a permanent injunction against the sale of the Samsung devices in South Korea. The company did not disclose the amount it would seek in damages.
"The organic light-emitting diode panels produced by Samsung Display, and the mobile devices Samsung Electronics built with these panels, constitute a serious infringement of seven key LG patents," said LG Display executive director Lee Bang-soo.
The patent in question revolves around technology for OLED heat protection, panel power supply siring, and narrow bezels. Samsung challenged LG Display's "improper use of patents" allegation and said that it has more OLED-related patents than LG.
"Samsung has the world's best OLED technology and controls 98 per cent of the market. Samsung has obtained far more OLED technology patents than LG, so there's no reason for us to violate theirs," countered the company.
Currently, Samsung holds 5,000 and 1,900 OLED technology patents in Korea and the U.S., respectively. By contrast, LG has 800 and 600 OLED technology patents in Korea and the U.S., respectively.
Samsung also said that LG was trying "to shed the negative image that resulted from the technology leaks." The company indicated that it would be reviewing the lawsuit and would take appropriate action as necessary.
The two South Korean companies currently lead the world in the production of OLED panels, which first emerged in the 1990s and were used in car radios. In recent years, the OLED panels have improved significantly in quality and are employed on cellphones, tablets, and TV sets. Additionally, both Samsung and LG Electronics Co., a LG Display shareholder, are anticipated to ship a 55-inch TV that uses OLED technology; however, neither company has announced a sales date yet.
The recent patent suit is possibly an offshoot of an ongoing technology battle over OLEDs between the two companies. Earlier, on Sept. 5, Samsung went to court and demanded an injunction which would bar LG Display from violating OLED technology patents. The LG lawsuit could be a defensive reaction.
Additionally, a Samsung official opined that LG's poor sales figures could be a reason for this tactical approach. The company may be attempting to generate sales via some "noise marketing" to boost its sagging fortunes.
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