By Don Southerton, Korea Legal Editor
One common concern with doing global business is trade and patent infringement, which are complex and costly–to both defend and protect. This recent case involving Kodak, Samsung, and LG provides some insights into Korean business. First Kodak is vigilant in protecting its IP. Next, Samsung and LG eventually saw that settling the case was in their best interest and would open doors for cross-licensing technology. That said, LG settled first, while Samsung waited until the U.S International Trade Commission ruled against them.
In comparing Samsung and LG, I see shrewder brinkmanship on the part of Samsung. This is no surprise and points out the need to understand Korean business and their unique corporate cultures. (Samsung, LG, Hyundai-Kia, Lotte, Hyosung, Hanjin, SK, Doosan, etc–all differ).
A Brief Overview
Kodak Takes Action Against Samsung and LG For Patent Infringement
Kodak Asserts that Samsung and LG Camera Phones Infringe its Digital Camera Patents
ROCHESTER, N.Y., Nov. 17 2008 — Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) announced today that it has filed complaints against Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and other related entities for infringement of Kodak patents.
The Kodak actions specifically allege that Samsung and LG camera phones infringe Kodak digital camera patents. The patents in question cover technology related to image capture, compression and data storage and a method for previewing motion images.
Kodak filed against Samsung and LG in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, as well as in the U.S. International Trade Commission. Kodak’s District Court complaints request compensation for damages resulting from the companies’ infringement, and both the District Court and ITC actions seek injunctions prohibiting Samsung and LG from further importation and sale of products cited in the complaints. Kodak did not disclose the amount of damages it is pursuing.
In February 2009 both Samsung and LG flied suits at the U.S. International Trade Commission over some alleged patent infringement by Kodak.
ROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 4, 2009 — Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: EK) announced today that it has entered into a technology cross-license agreement with LG Electronics, Inc., which will allow each company broad access to the other’s patent portfolio.
December 18, 2009 – An administrative law judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Samsung has infringed two camera patents developed by Kodak.
ROCHESTER, N.Y, January 11, 2010. —Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: EK) announced today that it has entered into a technology cross license with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. that will allow each company access to the other’s patent portfolio.
The license agreement, which provides significant benefits to both companies, is royalty bearing to Kodak. The company received a payment from Samsung in December that has been credited toward its royalty obligation. Additional financial details were not disclosed.
In December, Samsung and Kodak agreed to negotiate a settlement over digital camera patents issues, which could include a cross-licensing deal, Kodak said Wednesday.
The companies also entered into an agreement to file joint requests for the termination of patent infringement proceedings before the U.S. International Trade Commission, and to settle their patent infringement lawsuits against each other, which are pending in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York and in the German courts. Both the settlement of the litigation and the license agreement become effective upon approval by the International Trade Commission of the joint requests for termination. The ITC is expected to make its determination by the end of January 2010.