A patent troll is targeting Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics with regard to touch screens of smartphones.
The non-practicing entity (NPE) that has filed a patent infringement suit against the two Korean companies, has already secured a favorable position against Apple in a similar patent lawsuit.
Industry watchers say that Zeroclick filed a patent lawsuit against the two Korean high-tech companies in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas early this month. The NPE made an issue of two functions related to touch screens.
Zeroclick claimed that the two Korean companies have been selling the patent-infringing products, although they are well aware of the patent infringement.
Zeroclick cited Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Plus and LG’s V30 as prime examples of patent infringement in its complaint. However, the patent troll specified goods in question as “touch screen smartphones and tablets using Google Android software,” which means that it is practically targeting most smartphone and tablet devices produced by Samsung and LG.
Zeroclick has been engaged in a patent lawsuit with Apple since 2015. Analysts say that the patent troll has gained a favorable position against Apple in the suit. They believe that this has encouraged it to expand its litigation campaign to the South Korean tech firms. Zeroclick had lost the suit against Apple earlier in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California but the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s invalidation of patents. Accordingly, the result in Zeroclick v. Apple is likely to affect the patent lawsuit against Samsung or LG.
South Korean companies are particularly easy prey to the abusive litigation practices of patent trolls. According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of patent infringement lawsuits that NPEs have filed against Korean companies for the recent five years since 2015 amounted to as many as 590 cases. Of them, 374 cases were dropped, accounting for 63 percent.
This year alone, Samsung Electronics was sued by Uniloc, a representative NPE even before it launched the first foldable phone, Galaxy Fold, in April. In May, Neodron, an Ireland-based patent troll, asked the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) for an investigation against Samsung Electronics while Dynamics Inc, an American payment solution company, filed another patent lawsuit, claiming that Samsung violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which is aimed at regulating unfair trade practices involving the infringement of patents, trademarks, copyrights among others. If the Commission concludes that the exporter violated the Section, it can ban imports of the goods in question or issue a corrective order. Last month the South Korean smartphone giant became yet another target of Bell-Northern Research (BNR) when the telecommunications research anddevelopment company filed lawsuits against Samsung‘s flagship smartphone, Galaxy S10 and other Galaxy models.
LG Electronics has been also suffering from a series of patent infringement lawsuits filed by Parus Holdings in July, Enhanced Voice Serves (EVS) Codec technologies in August, and other patent trolls.