Many New Jersey residents own devices made by Samsung. The world’s leading cellphone manufacturer lost a lengthy court battle with its rival Apple over patent infringement, and now a Korean university has been awarded damages to be paid by Samsung as well. Once again, the claim against Samsung was patent infringement.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology accused Samsung of stealing its FinFet chipmaking technology. Samsung and two other companies, Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries, were each found guilty of infringing the university’s patent, but only Samsung was ordered to pay damages. The amount Samsung is ordered to pay is $400 million.
Samsung intends to appeal the verdict. It denies patent infringement and says it worked together with the university to develop the technology. The FinNet technology makes chips smaller and more powerful. Unlike the Apple case, which only involved older Samsung phones, the Korean case involves modern chips manufactured by Samsung and other companies. Samsung is the largest chip maker in the world, having knocked Intel out of that position in 2017. Because the patent infringement in the Korean university case was considered to be willful, the judge could increase the $400 million damages to up to $1 billion or slightly more.
Intellectual property litigation can be complicated. There are several different types of intellectual property infringement, including patent infringement, copyright infringement, trademark infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. Whether or not any of these are considered ‘willful” can make a great deal of difference in the outcome of a case.