Huawei wins a victory in Samsung patent dispute

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-12 07:56

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has scored a point in its patent dispute in China with its rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which may weigh down on the South Korean company's business in the world's largest smartphone market, experts said.

The Patent Reexamination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office said on its official website that some of the patents involved in Samsung's lawsuit against Huawei are invalid.

Among the eight patents, five are not valid, one is partially valid and only two are valid, the office said on Sept 30.

The decision came amid mounting competition between two of the world's largest smartphone vendors. Huawei and Samsung are involved in a slate of patent disputes in China, accusing each other of violating patents related to mobile technology and design.

Of the 16 patents Samsung accused Huawei of infringing in 2016, 10 were announced to be invalid, accounting for 62.5 percent. There is still one patent awaiting a review decision from the authority, according to data compiled by Securities Daily.

Huawei and Samsung declined to comment on the story.

Li Junhui, an intellectual property expert at China University of Political Science and Law, said Samsung cannot sue Huawei with invalid patents. Part of its lawsuits will likely be revoked.

"This is a blow for Samsung's plan to defend itself in the intellectual property battlefield," Li said.

According to Li, the five invalid patents involve technology related to smartphone cameras, screens and basic telecommunication services.

The review decision also came after a Chinese court ruled in April that Samsung's Chinese subsidiaries must pay 80 million yuan ($11.6 million) to Huawei for patent infringement.

In June 2016, Huawei filed a lawsuit against Samsung's units in China, claiming that more than 20 models of the latter's smartphones and tablet products, including the flagship Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge, had infringed its patents.

One month later, Samsung sued Huawei and other companies in Beijing on accusations of patent violation, demanding 161 million yuan in compensation.

Xiang Ligang, a smartphone expert and CEO of telecom industry website Cctime, said the chances are low for Samsung to win a legal battle in China.

"Samsung is losing ground in the local smartphone market. Patent defeats will have a further negative impact on its brand image," Xiang said.

Fan Feifei contributed to this story.

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