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Samsung secures upper hand in patent fight against BOE

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Sept. 14, 2023 - 18:22

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Samsung Display's manufacturing plant in Asan, South Chungcheong Province (Samsung Display) Samsung Display's manufacturing plant in Asan, South Chungcheong Province (Samsung Display)

Samsung Display has gained an upper hand in its legal fight over patent infringement against its Chinese rival BOE Technology, as the US trade agency backed the Korean firm's claims.

On Monday, the US International Trade Commission, an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency, upheld all interpretations of Samsung’s claims in its five patent infringement cases against the Chinese firm. The latest pretrial order comes after a hearing in June to examine eight technical terms with differing Samsung and BOE interpretations.

The claims refer to descriptions of the scope of patent rights. According to industry sources, the results of claim interpretation trials often have a significant impact on patent infringement rulings, as the complainants and defendants in a case may interpret key technologies differently.

“It is unusual for the US commission to take sides on all claim terms from one side,” a source close to the matter said.

The patent dispute between the two firms began last December when Samsung filed a complaint with the ITC for BOE’s alleged infringement on its display patents, including “Diamond Pixel” technology, saying the other party’s counterfeit displays are used widely for fixing smartphones in the US. The legal action is considered a move to deter the Chinese panel maker and protect its consumer-focused patents.

Diamond Pixel is akin to the atoms of Samsung's OLED displays, consisting of red, blue and green screen dots in the shape of diamonds. The technology was first unveiled in 2013 to enhance the accuracy of the picture, compared to existing conventional square-shaped pixel technology. It is considered one of the key strengths of the Korean firm's organic light-emitting diode displays.

In January, the ITC launched a patent infringement investigation against 17 parts wholesalers there. The lawsuit between Samsung and BOE initially kicked off as the Chinese display panel manufacturer voluntarily reported it a month after the investigation was announced.

BOE has fought back, filing a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics, the Chinese subsidiary of Samsung Display and its local partner in April at the Chongqing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court in China on charges of patent infringement.

In June, BOE also filed for patent invalidation proceedings with the US Patent and Trademark Office against the five concerned patents filed by Samsung.

In response, Samsung initiated patent infringement lawsuits in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and in Chinese courts. The main trial at the ITC is set to begin on Jan. 22 next year, with a verdict expected to come out June 17, 2024.