Samsung Sues Chinese Rival Over Display Patents

Samsung Display sues China’s BOE over allegedly infringed OLED display patents as China encroaches on South Korean market share

The display unit of Samsung Electronics has sued Chinese rival BOE Technology over alleged infringement of five of its patents used in iPhone 12 displays, amidst encroaching competition from China in the market for next-generation OLED displays.

Samsung Display asked a federal court in Texas award damages for the alleged patent infringement and an injunction to stop the import and sale of the affected BOE displays in the US.

The lawsuit was filed last week with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

The allegedly infringed patents cover technologies including the company’s Diamond Pixel, which involves the shape and arrangement of the screen’s variously colored sub-pixels.

Seoul, South Korea. Image credit: Ethan Brooke/Pexels
Seoul, South Korea. Image credit: Ethan Brooke/Pexels

‘Irreperable harm’

“Samsung Display has suffered, and will continue to suffer, irreparable harm as a result of Defendants’ infringement,” the firm said in the lawsuit.

Samsung Display last December filed lawsuits with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) against smartphone wholesale parts suppliers in the US claiming they were providing phone repair shops with copycat display panels from BOE and others for use in repairing iPhone 12 displays.

The ITC began an investigation as a result of the lawsuit.

When customers in the US went to repair shops to replace damaged iPhone 12 screens, they were given a choice of an original Samsung display and a copycat, according Samsung.

In response BOE filed lawsuits against Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display’s Chinese branch with a Chinese court in May.

China competition

South Korea dominates the overall OLED market, with an 81.3 percent share against China’s 17.9 percent share.

Where it comes to small and medium-sized OLED panels, BOE surpassed South Korea’s LG Display to become the No. 2 worldwide provider last year.

Samsung Display held 54.7 percent of that market in the first quarter, followed by BOE with 19.2 percent and 17.4 percent for LG Display.

Tech competition from China is increasingly seen as a national security issue in countries such as South Korea and the US, with South Korea preparing this month to try a former Samsung Electronics executive who allegedly stole secrets from the company to build a copycat chip factory in China.