Samsung faces risks in using patent for handheld devices
KAIST IP initially asked for less than $10 million from Samsung Electronics for a patent license agreement for FinFet, a technology necessary for handheld devices such as smartphones, according to a source.
Samsung rejected to pay and face a lawsuit in the United States where in 2018 it was ordered to pay $400 million to KAIST IP, the patent licensing arm of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the country’s top research university.
Worse, Samsung may have to pay even more to KAIST IP, which filed another lawsuit against the Seoul-based company in a U.S. court this year, claiming that the firm continues to infringe on its FinFet patent even after the 2018 ruling.
“In 2011, KAIST IP kept the issue low key with Samsung. It asked for less than $10 million for the licensed use of FinFet. But Samsung rejected it,” said the source who is familiar with the issue.
“KAIST IP tried to persuade Samsung for five years but the company did not listen at all. In the end, KAIST IP had no choice but to file a lawsuit against Samsung.”
FinFet is a three-dimensional transistor technology that replaces conventional bulk silicon to improve the performance of chips and reduce their power consumption.
The features are indispensable to roll out tiny, thin chips, which are used for such devices as smartphones and tablets.
Among three global powerhouses, which KAIST IP thinks use its FinFet technology, Intel and Apple inked license deals. But it fails to find a happy medium with Samsung.
Samsung claimed that its FinFet technology is different from the one for which KAIST IP has the patent rights.
But a U.S. court ruled in favor of KAIST IP as Samsung was ordered to pay $400 million last year. The amount might go up as KAIST IP lodged a new lawsuit this year.
When contacted, KAIST IP officials refused to comment.