Huawei-Samsung Patent Case: Court orders Samsung to pay 80m Yuan
Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies won a patent victory over its South Korean rival Samsung Electronics. The Quanzhou Intermediary Court ordered three units of Samsung to pay 80 million Yuan to Huawei for patent infringements of Huawei Device Co. Limited's smartphone cellular technologies. This is Huawei's first victory against Samsung in one of their many other legal challenges over patents in other courts.
Huawei filed lawsuits covering over ten patents against Samsung in China and the US claiming infringements of smartphone copyrights. It alleged over 20 Samsung products make use of its technologies (4G cellular communications technology, operating systems and user interface software) without permission. The case marked the reversal of roles in China where Chinese firms have often been at the receiving end of such disputes.
South Korean tech giant Samsung countersued Huawei for infringement of intellectual property through multiple Chinese courts, escalating a legal conflict between the rivals. Samsung sued Huawei over six alleged infringed patents, stating it had attempted to resolve the matter "amicably". According to the market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Samsung was the first bestselling smartphone maker in 2016 and Huawei the third.
The Chinese court's verdict is the first of several other cases filed by Huawei. The Chinese company filed lawsuits against the South Korean technology giant in China and the US, claiming infringements of patents.
Two Chinese electronic companies and three Samsung units (Samsung China Investment, and Huizhou and Tianjin units) were sued. Samsung allegedly manufactured and sold over 20 kinds of smartphones and tablets that infringed the patent. Huawei sought compensation for over 30 million Samsung products sold for $12.7bn. The court directed the five firms to stop infringing Huawei's copyrights and ordered Samsung to pay the damage.
A Huawei spokesman said the company welcomed the Quanzhou Intermediary Court's verdict in the current case. He also said that the company believes respecting and protecting intellectual property enables all companies to make a return on their Research & Development investments. He added, "We maintain that respect for intellectual property promotes innovation and healthy, sustained growth in the industry."
A spokesman for the South Korean smartphone maker, Samsung, said the company intends to decide on the response to the Chinese court's decision only after reviewing the verdict. He added, "Over many years, Samsung Electronics has pioneered the development of innovative mobile technologies through continuous investment in R&D to provide consumers with a wide selection of innovative products."
Intellectual property disputes that pitted one technology giant against another were more common a few years ago; in recent times such disputes have been fought out of the public eye. Even in the current case, the court redacted several details due to commercial privacy concerns.
Huawei's victory, however, has been tempered as it coincided with the High Court of England and Wales's judgment that it could face a sales ban in the UK. The ruling, though not final, stated Huawei must pay American firm Unwired Planet a global fee for 4G patents or face a ban. Huawei argued Unwired sought a very high amount, which the court agreed with.