Samsung Display hires Covington & Burling patent lawyer to head IP legal team

2021.01.07 11:58:08 | 2021.01.12 10:52:35

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Samsung Display Co. has recruited a Korean lawyer from a prominent U.S. law firm to head its intellectual property rights team, gearing itself for potential patent fights in OLED display technology.

The South Korean company named Chang Sik Kim as vice president of its IP legal team late last month. Kim served as special counsel for Covington & Burling, a Washington D.C.-based law firm that ranks among the world’s top 40.

Kim previously worked on patent litigations for Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display and most recently represented SK Innovation in its battery patent lawsuit against LG Chem.

During his years at Covington & Burling, Kim represented Samsung Display in its five-year-long patent fight against a non-practicing entity and helped lead the company to a victory in 2019. The case started when Gold Charm, a patent troll founded by Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai of Taiwan, bought LCD technology patents for 130 billion won ($119.5 million), which it then used to file patent lawsuits against Japan’s Toshiba and others. Samsung Display immediately joined the fight to protect its client Toshiba.

Korean players currently dominate the world’s OLED display market, putting them more at risk of international patent lawsuits. Korean companies were the target of 42 patent lawsuits in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2020, according to data from Korea Intellectual Property Protection Agency. A large majority (28 cases) were raised by patent trolls. Three were raised by Japanese display company JOLED.

Samsung Display commands an 80 percent share in the global small-to-mid size OLED display market for smartphones. It currently supplies its OLED displays to major smartphone makers including Apple and Samsung Electronics.

By Lee Jong-hyuk

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