LG Innotek's first Smart-Plant will mass produce High-End Flip Chips that Apple will be used in Next-Gen M-Series Processors
Apple supplier Jabil begins making parts of AirPods in India

Samsung Display's Complaint to US ITC against 17 U.S. smartphone repair shops is an indirect warning to Chinese OLED maker BOE & others


On January 04, Patent Apple posted a report title "Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo Surprises with Prediction that BOE will Overtake Samsung for iPhone 15 and 15 Pro Displays." The news rattled the Korea's display industry and they instantly began to make it known in the press that they were highly skeptical of this rumor. Last week we reported that "The Korean government recently designated next-gen display technologies as a national strategic technology, making display makers eligible for expanded tax credits on investment in R&D and facilities." The technologies that the Korean Government wants to protect include AMOLED, microLED, Quantum-Dot and more.

Samsung certainly took Ming-Chi Kuo's rumor very seriously because they're now going into war mode. An indirect war with Chinese OLED panel makers.

According to The Korea Herald, Samsung Display recently filed a complaint against 17 smartphone repair shops in the US over their use of “illegal” panels that it says infringed its highly sophisticated OLED patents.

Sources claim that Samsung seems determined to offer no leniency for frequent patent infringements done mostly by smaller Chinese rivals.

In the complaint, Samsung requested the repair shops to stop importing the panels using its technologies without permission, citing Section 337 of the US Tariff Act of 1930. Following the filing, US International Trade Commission, the US trade watchdog, has kicked off an investigation.

Technologies in question include Diamond Pixel, among others. The technology is considered one of the key strengths of Samsung OLEDs.

Sources say Samsung is taking action against the US repair shops in an apparent move to deter the Chinese panel makers. 

“If Samsung directly filed a complaint against the Chinese companies, it could grow into a patent war with China, which involves complicated geopolitical issues,” an industry source close to the matter told The Korea Herald on condition of anonymity. “The company is sending an indirect warning to them by raising the issue with the importers.” 

"We are actively looking into ways to better protect our intellectual property rights, an outcome of the hard work of all company officials,” said Choi Kwon-young, executive vice president at Samsung Display, during an earnings conference call in February last year. For more on this, read the full report by The Korea Herald.

The Elec in Korea is more direct in its reporting that Samsung's move is aimed at China's display maker BOE. The report notes that

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has launched a full-scale investigation into Samsung Display's patent infringement application for OLED for repair. Samsung Display applied for suspension of import and sales of OLED for repair in the U.S. that used its patent without permission. Currently, Chinese panel companies such as BOE are infringing on Samsung Display's patents and producing OLEDs, so it is interpreted that the measures are aimed at them.

The Apple iPhone 12, the model that appears most often in Samsung Display’s patent infringement investigation application, is the first model that BOE received approval from Apple for repair OLED in 2020.

Samsung Display claimed that these 17 companies had infringed on four patents (9,818,803, 10,854,683, 7,414,599, 9,330,593), including their diamond pixels, for OLEDs imported and sold in the United States. The smartphone models that Samsung Display pointed out as using OLED panels for repair that infringed on its patents include the Apple iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, and Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S9-S22 series.

OLED for repair is a replacement part used when a problem such as OLED damage occurs in a smartphone used by consumers. In the industry, it is called OLED for 'refurbished'. Recently, in the United States and Europe, along with the movement to expand consumer repair rights, private (third-party) repair companies that provide smartphone repair services are increasing.

Samsung Display argued that some of the OLED products imported and used by these private repair companies infringed on its patents. Samsung Display said in the investigation application that the panel was produced in Shenzhen, China, but the manufacturer and manufacturing region were unclear.

Samsung Display applied for a General Exclusion Order (GEO) and a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) for the alleged patent infringement.

It is interpreted that Samsung Display's application for a patent infringement investigation to ITC was influenced by the BOE's containment and its response to the recent move to expand consumer repair rights.

Samsung Display already warned against patent infringement against BOE and others early last year. There's much more on this in The Elec report.

This is also a potential warning to Apple should they decide to use OLED displays from BOE in greater numbers as the Ming-Chi Kuo rumor predicted. This could be another major patent infringement case between Samsung and Apple since Apple's classic case against Samsung for copying the iPhone.  Samsung will use their patents to ensure that BOE display never gets 70% of Apple's OLED panel business. This is certainly a development to keep an eye on going forward.

10.0F3 - Patently Extra News


The comments to this entry are closed.