Economic review

Huawei beats Samsung in patent suit

2018-01-12 09:48:00 (Beijing Time)         Global Times

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Victory highlights Chinese firm's tech strength: experts

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co won another lawsuit against Samsung Electronics Co, as a court in China ruled on Thursday in favor of Huawei's claim that the South Korean company had infringed its patents essential to smartphone cellular technologies.

The victory for Huawei highlighted the emerging power of Huawei as a leader in the industry that has been dominated by foreign companies like Samsung and Apple Inc, as well as the improving legal system for protecting intellectual property in China, experts said.

The Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court in South China's Guangdong Province ruled that Huawei has the intellectual property rights (IPR) to the two patents in question, which are necessary to fourth-generation (4G) technology, and that Samsung violated the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory principle, also known as FRAND, during the settlement negotiating process, the court said in a statement on Thursday.

"The defendant used the plaintiff's two proprietary technologies and infringed the plaintiff's patent rights," said the statement, adding that Samsung has to use the two technologies essential for meeting standards in its production and sale of 4G terminal products and did so without permission from Huawei.

Further, the court said, Samsung "maliciously" dragged out negotiations mediated by the court, committed "explicit wrongdoing" and violated the FRAND principle.

The ruling did not involve any financial compensation for Huawei but it would bar Samsung from further using the two technologies without permission, according to a spokesperson for Huawei, which welcomed the court's decision.

"Huawei believes that respecting and protecting each other's intellectual property and rewarding investments in research and development are conducive to promoting innovation and sound and sustainable development for the industry,"Huawei said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Thursday.

The statement further noted that the court's ruling reflected the persistent improvements in the environment for IPR protection in China.

Samsung said the company would carefully study the ruling and "reasonably" react in accordance to relevant laws and regulations.

"Samsung has always respected fair competition and reasonable development in the industry and respected others' legal patent rights, while complying with the FRAND principle," Samsung said in a statement to the Global Times Thursday.

The ruling followed a win by Huawei against Samsung in April 2017, when a court in Quanzhou, East China's Fujian Province ruled in favor of Huawei in a patent lawsuit against Samsung and ordered the latter to pay 80 million yuan ($11.6 million).

Huawei has also filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung in California, in which a verdict is pending.

Xiang Ligang, chief executive of the domestic telecom industry portal cctime.com, said the ruling on Thursday also highlighted China's improving legal system in terms of IPR protection.

"Intellectual property protection has become a top priority in China in recent years and there has been a lot of progress, both in terms of improving the legal system and raising public awareness," Xiang told the Global Times.

The Shenzhen court also said in its statement that the case is conducive to creating a fair market in China and fairly protecting the rights of both domestic and foreign patent holders.

Fu Liang, a Beijing-based independent telecom industry analyst, said that while such patent infringement lawsuits are common among technology companies, Huawei's lawsuits reflect its ascent as a world-class technology powerhouse.

"Big technology companies like Apple and Samsung often sue each other for patent infringement because the competition is so intense. Sometimes you win and other times you lose. But these recent developments really show that Huawei is up there among the world's best," Fu told the Global Times on Thursday.

Samsung filed a countersuit against Huawei in July 2016, shortly after the latter filed the suit that resulted in Thursday's ruling, alleging that the Chinese company has infringed its mobile technology patents. That lawsuit is also pending.