Samsung is ramping up its patent efforts in the US after the company announced this week it had invested $25 million to form Intellectual Keystone Technology (IKT), a wholly-owned Washington DC-based patents firm.
A report from Korea Times states that the business opened in March, and represents the first time that Samsung has opened an independent body solely dedicated to trading and developing patents. A Samsung spokesperson confirmed the opening of the US-based business, telling the Korea Times: “Patents are a good source of innovation and we also need to protect our intellectual property by strengthening our patent-related business.”
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Last year, Samsung was on the receiving end of an historic defeat when a US court sided with Apple in their billion dollar smartphone technology dispute, but — according to sources — IKT is focused on display technologies rather than directly avenging the score with Apple on design and software patents.
The business is said to be focused on OLED and LCD patents specifically and, already, it has completed its first deal, buying display-related patents from Japanese firm Seiko Epson on April 30 (filing).
Samsung’s display technology business is one of the industry’s most dominant — it has supplied Apple’s smartphones, but the US firm turned to Sharp for the larger display of the iPhone 5 — and, with an increased focus on stocking up its patents, the company may just be eyeing more revenue.
Another anonymous source told Korea Times: “Companies should be paying licensing fees for patents. We are paying [money] to platform providers such as Microsoft in return for using their patents. IKT will be tasked to find out which patents are helpful and valued for Samsung.”
That sounds rather ominous, particularly given the firm’s growing patent presence in other parts of the world. Last year, it became the first Asian company to file the most patent applicants in Europe, according to the European Patent Office.
Headline image via Samsung