Patzine   Country :
E-mail :
IP News 
Technology Transfer 
Technology Offer 
Technology Request 


   Patent News


Subject : Samsung-Sharp legal row: no end in sight   
Date 2009-11-27 Visit 4182

A two-year-long legal battle between Samsung Electronics and Sharp is expected to continue for the time being, with the two LCD panel makers showing no signs of compromise, industry watchers said.

On Tuesday, a U.S. trade panel ordered a ban of imports on some Samsung LCD panels and LCD TVs citing violations of four patents owned by Sharp. The ruling is expected to take effect in January should it gain approval from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The two bitter rivals have so far won two patent cases each, in a string of suits filed against each other since 2007. They also await rulings in courts in the United States, Japan and Korea.

Patent disputes often culminate in an agreement on cross-licensing patents, but prospects are mixed over whether the two will be able to reach a licensing deal, and even if they do so, it will take time, industry officials said.

"The two may end up agreeing on a cross-license. But Samsung and Sharp are expected to fight fiercely for the time being," an industry source told The Korea Herald yesterday, on condition of anonymity.

A Samsung executive also said: "Negotiations are under way with Sharp ... We are also preparing various alternative technologies."

An ongoing legal tussle was triggered by Sharp, a once mighty LCD panel maker which lost ground to latecomer Samsung Electronics, which beat Sharp out as the No. 1 LCD panel maker.

In the latest development, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Samsung violated four of Sharp`s patents and barred imports of Samsung`s LCD products that have Sharp`s inventions.

Samsung appeared to be unfazed by the import ban, as it has already developed technologies that skirt Sharp`s patents in disputes.

"This is not good news for Samsung. But Samsung has continuously developed alternative technologies. The decision is unlikely to prevent Samsung from exporting its LCD TVs and monitors to the United States," Ahn Hyun-seung, president of DisplaySearch Korea, said.

Samsung is the No. 2 LCD TV maker in the United States, after Vizio, controlling 19.9 percent of the U.S. market in the second quarter, according to iSuppli. Sharp placed seventh with 5 percent, according to the market research firm.

But Lee Sin-doo, an electrical engineering professor of Seoul National University, said Samsung`s alternative technologies have not yet been proven, adding it will take years to verify whether there will be any problems with the LCD products that have Samsung`s technologies.

"We cannot say that Samsung`s workaround technologies are 100 percent reliable," Lee said.

He also said Samsung is expected to be hit harder than Sharp from the patent dispute given that Sharp has more core LCD technologies.

"Samsung has many technologies to develop and mass produce LCD panels, but they are weak in terms of core technologies," he said.

But watchers say it is unclear whether the two sides will be able to resolve the legal dispute by agreeing on a cross-licensing deal outside the courtroom.

"It is uncertain whether we will be able to reach a licensing agreement given that Samsung and Sharp have developed technologies to work around each other`s patents (at the center of disputes)," a Samsung spokesperson told The Korea Herald.

Echoing his comments, Ahn said, "Sharp and other Japanese companies are negative about cross-license deals. Unless Sharp concludes that it will be able to benefit from a licensing agreement, it will not be easy for the company to agree on the pact."



5F. Shinwon Bldg. 823-14, Yeoksam-dong, Kangnam-ku, SEOUL, 135-080 KOREA
PHONE : 82-2-501-3106 FAX : 82-2-501-3109 e-mail :