S. Korea May Ban Import of Apple's iPhone X

Apple Investigated for Possible Patent Infringement

2018-09-11     Kim Eun-jin

The Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy is investigating the allegations that Apple infringed on the KAIST’s FinFET-related patent. With the investigation period already extended twice, its final determination is likely to be in favor of the KAIST. Then, import of Apple phones such as the iPhone X may be banned.

“We are currently looking into whether Apple infringed on the patent of KIP, a subsidiary company of the KAIST,” said the Korea Trade Commission under the ministry, adding, “The targets include iPhone 8, iPhone 8+, iPhone X, iPad 9.7, and 9.7-, 10.5-, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro imported from China and Hong Kong.”

The investigation revolves around whether the FinFET patent of the KAIST is valid. In this regard, the commission is focusing on the logic of Samsung Electronics, which is currently engaged in litigation against the KAIST in the United States. Samsung Electronics already submitted some evidence to the competent U.S. court to invalidate the patent. In addition, the company filed a similar lawsuit in July this year with the Intellectual Property Trial and Approval Board of South Korea.

“We cannot but pay attention to the litigation in the U.S. and South Korea involving Samsung Electronics although our current investigation is targeting Apple,” the ministry explained, adding, “This is because Samsung Electronics submitted evidence to refute the novelty of the patent, which is required for the patent to be regarded as being valid.”