The Korea Trade Commission (KTC) of the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy decided on December 21 to initiate an investigation on unfair trade with regard to FinFET patent infringement by Apple Korea.
The FinFET technology is one of the most advanced technologies in the semiconductor industry and it is used for information processing speed enhancement and power consumption optimization by means of three-dimensional design of a two-dimensional semiconductor chip structure. The term is because of the shape of the protruding parts that resembles a fish fin.
KIP Co., Ltd. submitted a written request for the investigation on December 4, claiming Apple Korea infringed upon its FinFET patent. The patent holder is the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) and KIP Co., Ltd. is the sole licensee. The latter claimed that iPads and the smartphones including the iPhone X Apple Korea imported from China and Hong Kong violated the patent rights of the KAIST.
The KTC explained that it initiated the investigation because Apple Korea imported the devices within one year from the date of request and the imported devices may have infringed upon the patent rights of the KAIST that are currently valid. This is the first time that the KTC conducts an investigation concerning patent infringement by Apple.