Patent Lawsuits Against Korean Firms on the Rise

      March 13, 2009 08:47

      With the worldwide recession, the number of patent lawsuits has been increasing sharply, with global IT businesses including Japanese electronics and semiconductor makers filing suits against Korean enterprises like Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Hynix.

      Their filing of such lawsuits is part of a high-level strategy to earn more technology royalty revenues by making the most of their patents, with their sales decreasing in the wake of the recession. Experts speculate that some American and Japanese companies are resorting to such patent lawsuits as a way to prevent Korean businesses from advancing into their markets.

      Some 25 patent cases by foreign firms against Samsung were pending at the end of 2008, up more than three times the number in 2003, when a mere eight such lawsuits were filed against the Korean conglomerate. Against LG Electronics, the number of patent lawsuits filed by foreign firms increased from six in 2005 to 14 in 2008.

      There are fears that growing signs of protectionism in the U.S., Japan and European nations encourage companies there to use patent lawsuits as a means to hold Korean firms in check.

      An official with the Korean Intellectual Property Office said an increasing number of foreign firms have filed patent lawsuits against Korean companies to hold them in check as the Korean companies' share of overseas markets grows.

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