Korean Institute Sues Global Cell Phone Makers

The government-funded Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) has filed a patent lawsuit worth W300 billion against 22 mobile phone manufacturers around the world (US$1=W1,121).

An ETRI spokesman on Monday said it filed a patent lawsuit with the Court of California through attorneys SPH America last August against 19 mobile phone manufacturers including Nokia and Motorola over their illegal use of third-generation mobile communication technologies including WCDMA whose patent is held by ETRI.

Since 2008, ETRI has been in similar proceedings against three other firms, Sony Ericsson, Kyocera and HTC. This means that the institute is suing virtually every mobile phone manufacturer in the world.

ETRI says its technologies are used for WCDMA and CDMA2000, international standards for third-generation mobile communications. They are signal processing technologies that help reduce power consumption. They were adopted as international standards in 2000, and all makers of third-generation mobile phones use them.

However, ETRI is sparing Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. "Of the 22 firms we've sued, we've already reached agreement with two over their payment of a total amount of W20 billion in royalties. We estimate the total amount of royalties we could receive from the 22 companies at US$300 million," the ETRI spokesman added.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 12, 2010 11:42 KST