By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics has filed a 10 billion won compensation lawsuit against Dyson in a patent dispute over a vacuum cleaner, according to Samsung, Sunday.
The move by Korea's electronics giant came as a countermeasure against the U.K.-based manufacturer for suing Samsung on accusations of infringing on its patent on the vacuum cleaner mechanism in August, 2013.
In its suit against Dyson Samsung claims the accusation has seriously hurt its corporate image by portraying it as a repeat patent violator or copycat.
"Last week, Samsung Electronics' legal counsel filed legal papers with the Seoul Central District Court against Dyson as the latter's previous litigation has hurt Samsung's corporate image," said a Samsung spokesman by telephone.
"We are initially seeking 10 billion won compensation from the U.K.-based manufacturer; however, the amount will increase depending on how the court proceedings go," he added.
"Samsung's marketing activities were negatively affected by Dyson's groundless litigation, which is intolerable."
Officials at the local court confirmed the lawsuit by Samsung.
In August last year, Dyson brought Samsung to the U.K. High Court by alleging that Samsung's brand-new "MotionSync" range had infringed Dyson patents on how a vacuum cleaner moves.
Dyson then insisted that the steering mechanism on the cleaner, enabling it to travel more easily around corners and table legs and over carpets is a direct copy of its DC37 and DC39 models.
But three months after it filed the lawsuit, Dyson voluntarily dropped the litigation.
Right after the withdrawal, Samsung's co-CEO Yoon Boo-keun blamed Dyson by saying: "The most unproductive innovation is a patent litigation."
"This is no surprise. Samsung has the right to assess the damage the lawsuit has caused. Samsung is going to take a hard-line stance against patent trolls that use litigations as a marketing tool," said an executive at Samsung Electronics by telephone.
He pointed out that Dyson has a bad record of litigations with its rivals and Samsung's suit is aimed at preventing similar incidents from occurring again.
Samsung's latest moves came after the world's biggest smartphone vendor signed a cross-licensing deal with its rivals, including Google, Cisco Systems, International Business Machines, IBM and other leading technology leaders to strengthen its patent portfolios.
On a related note, CEOs of Samsung and Apple recently met to work out a truce in their ongoing legal battles; however, they failed to reach an agreement as the firms still differed over patent values.
According to Samsung officials, the company spends over 300 billion won annually only for patents and it offers incentives to its employees who develop patents.