By Kim Yoo-chul
The wave of intellectual property disputes sweeping the technology industry has now hit the liquid crystal display (LCD) sector, in which Korea’s Samsung Group and LG Display have been cementing a duopoly.
LG Display, the runner-up LCD maker, filed a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display Thursday over supposed infringement of its patents for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens and will seek injunctions on Samsung smart-phones and tablets using the disputed technologies. Samsung Display, which specializes in small-sized LCDs used on mobile devices, said it plans to countersue.
In its court papers submitted to the Seoul Central District Court, LG Display alleged that Samsung infringed seven patents in five of its mobile Internet devices ― the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 HD, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab 7.7.
LG Display’s pursuit of legal action was a hit back at Samsung, which earlier this month filed a similar claim against its rival for stealing technology involving large-sized OLED screens used for televisions.
``It’s too early to talk about expanding the requests for injunctions internationally. But yes, it’s certainly an option we could take. We aren’t expecting anything less than a sincere apology from Samsung," said Lee Bang-soo, LG Display’s senior vice president.
In an e-mailed statement, LG Display explained that the patents in question ― KR0583252, KR0774911, KR0581101, KR0641738, KR0555308, KR0754484 and KR0939206 ― are related to panel designs, circuit technologies and OLED structures.
``Samsung has been using our patented OLED technologies without paying royalties. Then it spread rumors that LG Display has been failing to produce small-sized OLED screens used in mobile devices, which we thought was unacceptable and intolerable,’’ the company said.
Samsung Display vehemently denied the accusations, claiming it has an edge in OLED technology and had no need of stealing pages from its rival’s book.
``Samsung is dominating the global market for OLEDs. Samsung owns the rights of some 5,000 OLED-related patents in Korea and 1,900 in the United States. LG Display just secured 800 patents in Korea and 600 in the U.S. The claim that Samsung infringed on LG Display’s technology doesn’t make any sense,’’ the company said in its own statement.
In its lawsuit filed weeks earlier, Samsung said it will seek $880,514 from LG Display for each time its allegedly stolen technologies were used in LG products or shared with third parties. Earlier this year, 11 former employees of Samsung Mobile were arrested and charged for providing trade secrets about Samsung’s new 55-inch OLED television to LG Display.
LG Display’s Lee confirmed that the company has no intention of spreading its legal actions against other companies such as Nokia, which relies on Samsung’s OLED patents.
OLED screens are brighter and thinner than conventional liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. But the usage of the advanced screens is currently being limited to small-to-medium-sized devices such as smartphones and tablets due to prices and power consumption problems.
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, LG Display’s sister company, both plan to unveil 55-inch OLED televisions by the end of the year.