Largan Precision Co (大立光), Taiwan’s leading smartphone camera lens supplier, is likely to again receive orders from Samsung Electronics Co after the South Korean company settled a patent dispute with Largan, analysts said.
“The victory in the three-year-long lawsuit is no doubt positive news for Largan’s operations in the long term,” Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) analyst Jeff Pu (蒲得宇) said by telephone yesterday.
Pu’s remarks came after Largan filed a statement with the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday, saying that it has reached settlements with Samsung and Taiwan’s Genius Electronic Optical Co (玉晶光) over Largan’s patent rights.
Largan declined to disclose the details of the settlements, as it inked confidentiality agreements with the two companies.
Largan sued Samsung in the US District Court for the Southern District of California in November 2013, claiming that the South Korean smartphone vendor infringed on six patents that Largan registered in the US.
At that time, Samsung was one of Largan’s clients. The Taiwanese company shipped a small number of handset camera lenses to Samsung before it initiated a patent lawsuit against the South Korean firm.
The collaboration between the two companies was later suspended because of the patent dispute. Samsung’s camera lenses used in smartphones were mainly supplied by Sekonix Co Ltd, a South Korean camera lens supplier, in the past few years, according to analysts.
Pu said the settlement with Samsung would not only bring royalties income to Largan, but also reopen the possibility of supplying camera lenses to the world’s largest smartphone vendor.
He said it is an industry trend that smartphone vendors are migrating their handset camera lenses to higher specifications, such as dual cameras with multiple functions, in an effort to receive a warm market response.
Given Largan’s strong capability to deliver complicated dual camera lens designs with high production yields, it is only a matter of time before Samsung places orders to Largan, Pu said.
Pu said Largan’s anticipated collaboration with Samsung would confirm its leading position in the global optical industry, as the firm already has orders from Apple Inc, China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and other smartphone manufacturers.
An analyst at Tashin Securities Investment Advisory Co (台新投顧) said Largan’s patent victory would widen the technological gap between Largan and second-tier camera lens makers in the global optics industry.
The settlement means Genius will need to deliver completely different industrial designs to avoid infringing Largan’s technologies, which is very difficult for second-tier manufacturers to achieve, the analyst, who declined to be named, said by telephone.
Largan has an ongoing lawsuit with domestic rival Ability Optoelectronic Technology Inc (先進光電), in which Largan in 2013 sued Ability for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
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