Samsung Electronics and Apple, which are waging a patent war over smartphones and tablet PCs, reportedly intensified their lobbying activities to influence the US Federal government in 2013.
The Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington group that tracks lobbying, reported on March 8 (local time) that Samsung Group spent US$1.22 million (about 1.295 billion won) on lobbyists last year through Samsung Electronics America and local law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.
The 2013 figure is a 38.6 percent year-on-year gain, and the highest-ever amount spent in one year, exceeding US$1 million for the first time.
According to a report submitted by Samsung Group to US authorities last year, the Korean conglomerate spent a significant amount of its lobbying money on intellectual property infringement and patent lawsuits, which were presumably related to a court battle with Apple.
The group lobbied the House of Representatives most heavily with eight cases, followed by the Senate (7 cases) and the US Department of Education (6), the International Trade Administration (3), and the Department of Commerce (3 cases).
Samsung is also said to have spent another US$10,000 for lobbying last year through its electronics arm.
Apple, on the other hand, reportedly spent US$3.37 million on lobbying in Washington DC in 2013, up 71.1 percent from a year ago. The number exceeded the prior record level, which placed the company in the 10th position among US computer and Internet firms.
Samsung’s arch-rival also reportedly tried to exert its influence primarily on patent-related bills, such as the Patent Abuse Reduction Act, by mainly targeting the House of Representatives (24 cases) and the Senate (23 cases).
Meanwhile, Google topped the list of lobbying spenders among US computer and Internet firms, with US$14.06 million. However, last year’s figure is a US$3.6 million decrease from 2012. Microsoft occupied the runner-up position with US$14.9 million, followed by Oracle with US$7.19 million, Hewlett-Packard (US$6.92 million), Facebook (US$6.43 million), IBM (US$5.95 million), the Entertainment Software Association (US$5.21 million), Intel (US$4.39 million), Amazon (US$3.46 million), and Apple (US$3.37 million).
Siemens was the heaviest spender on lobbying among consumer electronics companies with US$5.01 million, followed by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (US$2.53 million), TE Connectivity (US$1.63 million), and Phillips (US$1.61 million). Four of them spent more money on lobbying than Samsung.
A source in Washington DC observed, “The total lobbying expenditures in the US in 2013 equaled US$3.21 billion. Given that last year’s amount is a reduction of US$100 million from 2012, we see that Samsung and Apple competed fiercely for lobbying.” The source added, “Samsung Group is emerging as one of the top lobbying spenders in the US, where lobbying activities are considered to be lawful and pretty natural.”