Asus is suing Samsung over alleged violations of its wireless communication patents, targeting devices like the Galaxy 4G, 5G phones, and the Galaxy Z Flip5, reports DigiTimes. Despite its challenges in the smartphone market, Asustek's robust patent collection has given it the confidence to confront Samsung, the world's largest maker of handsets. Asus reportedly approached Samsung a year and a half ago asking for licensing fees to use what it asserts is its patented tech, but the two companies failed to reach an agreement.
There is context to be added, though. Despite Asustek's struggles in the smartphone market, which led to its focus on the niche market segment of gaming smartphones, the company has consistently invested in mobile technology over the years, amassing a significant patent portfolio. This collection not only offers a potential revenue stream through licensing but also serves as a shield against potential legal threats.
Recently, Asus formed Asus Technology Licensing and Innovative Sonic Limited, which owns the company's patents. These entities made Celerity IP LLC, a subsidiary of litigation finance firm GLS Capital, their exclusive licensee that manages the two portfolios, and this company filed a lawsuit against Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas over a single wireless communications patent (U.S. Patent No. 10,187,878), reports RPX Insight.
The patent in question is described as a 'method and apparatus for improving a transmission using a configured resource in a wireless communication system' and covers 4G and 5G smartphones. RPX Insight says the patent is a standard essential patent.
Asus entered the mobile phone arena in 2003 but has never become a major player in the industry. The company's own projections for its ROG Phone and Zenfone series in 2023 hover around 600,000 units, according to DigiTimes. In stark contrast, Samsung shipped over 260 million smartphones in 2022 alone.
Despite these market disparities, Asustek's decision to legally challenge Samsung underscores its faith in its patent assets. While its market presence may be dwarfed by Samsung, its intellectual property remains a formidable tool in its arsenal, allowing it to take on industry giants head-on.
Typically, lawsuits involving standard essential patents take years, and even if the court obliges Samsung to pay Asus for its intellectual property, this will hardly make the company's smartphone business profitable. On the other hand, the two companies could possibly negotiate a cross-license agreement. As with all litigation, the process could take several years to wind through the courts.