Non-practicing entities (NPEs) led 132 patent lawsuits against South Korean companies in the United States last year, which is equivalent to 46 percent of the patent lawsuits filed in that country against South Korean companies during the period. The figures amount to 764 and 65 percent in the period of 2014 to 2018.
These days, NPEs are focusing on patents in the field of Industry 4.0. The 132 patent lawsuits include 52 related to mobile communications, 31 related to computing, 24 related to audio and video technologies and seven related to digital communications.
Uniloc is one of the NPEs that led the lawsuits. It filed 26 suits against South Korean companies, including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, in 2017 and increased the number to 52 in 2018. In November 2018 alone, it filed three and five suits against Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, respectively. In addition, American Patents filed five patent lawsuits against South Korean companies in 2018 while Red Rock Analytics, Dynamic Data Technologies and Realtime Adaptive Streaming filed four each.
Under the circumstances, South Korean companies are making aggressive moves to protect their intellectual property rights. For instance, Samsung Electronics increased the number of its patents by 7.9 percent to 128,700 in 2018, which include 50,804 registered in the United States. Most of the new patents are related to smartphones, memory chips and smart TVs. LG Electronics increased its number to 55,172 until the end of last year, mainly with regard to TVs and smartphones.