Mon, Jul 18, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Samsung LED seeks US import ban on Osram’s products


A Samsung unit is raising the ante in a patent dispute with a German rival over energy-saving LED lighting amid intensifying legal disputes among global companies jockeying for supremacy in key consumer technologies.

Samsung LED Co said yesterday that it had asked the US International Trade Commission (USITC) to bar products of Osram GmbH and two units from entering the US.

South Korea-based Samsung LED said it had also filed a lawsuit in a US district court in the state of Delaware alleging infringement of its LED patents, seeking unspecified damages.

Samsung LED is targeting Osram, Osram Opto Semiconductors and Osram Sylvania Inc in the actions. Munich-based Osram GmbH is a unit of German industrial engineering giant Siemens AG. Osram Sylvania is Osram’s North American operation, based in Massachusetts.

Last month, Samsung LED sued Osram Korea Co and two local companies that sell its products in South Korea in retaliation for what is said were suits by Osram at the USITC, in the Delaware court and in Germany.

“Samsung LED intends to vigorously enforce its intellectual property rights and these lawsuits reflect Samsung LED’s commitment to that enforcement,” the company said in a press release.

Osram could not be immediately reached for comment.

Samsung LED is alleging infringement of eight patents covering what it calls “core” LED technologies used in products such as lighting, automobiles, projectors, mobile phone screens and TVs.

Semiconductor-based LEDs or light emitting diodes, are becoming increasingly popular for their durability and energy-saving capability.

Samsung LED also suggested it could expand the scope of the USITC case.

“As new information becomes available it will continue to evaluate the potential to add additional parties who may be importing, using or selling the accused Osram LEDs in the US market,” the company said in the release.

Samsung LED was established in 2009 as a joint venture between Samsung Electronics Co and Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co.

Such complaints and lawsuits are common in the global technology industry and seldom lead to market disruptions as disputes take months or years to resolve and typically end with payments of licensing fees rather than any import bans.

Still, they highlight the intensity of competition in which technological advantage can give companies a key edge in attracting consumers.

Eastman Kodak Co has an ongoing patent dispute over photo technology at the USITC with Apple Inc and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd.

Samsung companies are taking an aggressive stance in global technology patent wars.

Samsung Electronics is embroiled in multiple complaints and lawsuits with Apple Inc over smartphone and tablet technology. It has also launched legal actions against Taiwan’s AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) over alleged patent infringement in liquid crystal displays.

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