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Samsung Hit With $400 Million Fine Over FinFET Patent Infringement

Samsung Electronics Co. is facing a hefty penalty for improper use of a FinFET technology patent. According to Bloomberg, a federal jury in Texas on Friday said that the South Korean electronics company infringed a US patent owned by the licensing arm of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

The jury told Samsung to hand over $400 million for damages, but the company could be facing three times that amount. Bloomberg reported that the jury found Samsung’s actions to be “willful,” which gives the judge the authority to raise the fine by as much as three times the jury’s figure.

Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries joined Samsung to defend the use of the FinFET technology. GlobalFoundries also manufactures chips with FinFET technology and Qualcomm is a customer of both companies. The jury found them both guilty. However, Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries were not ordered to pay any damages to KAIST.

Samsung disagrees with the jury’s judgment, and it maintains that it did not infringe KAIST’s patents because it helped develop the technology with the university. Samsung said that it was “disappointed by the verdict.” It also said that it “will consider options to obtain an outcome that is reasonable, including an appeal.”

  • valeman2012
    Texas Jury is a joke, they did same with Nintendo Wii U possible copyright violation. Letting these Patent trolls win.
    Reply
  • epdm2be
    Great. Instead of spending money for innovation companies do nothing but pay fines here and there. Money which disappears in bloody politicians' pocket.

    In the mean time, the only thing I do is paying goddamn taxes! Instead of saving for an HTC Vive Pro or any other tech that I'm interested in. :-(
    Reply
  • bit_user
    21067792 said:
    Texas Jury is a joke, they did same with Nintendo Wii U possible copyright violation. Letting these Patent trolls win.
    Wait a sec...
    South Korean electronics company infringed a US patent owned by the licensing arm of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
    ...
    Samsung ... told the jury that it worked with the university to develop the technology and denied infringing the patent. It also challenged the validity of the patent.
    I'm not sure this is an open-and-shut patent trolling case. Usually, when there are such partnerships, there are agreements in place around IP ownership and licensing. Perhaps the case hinged more on such minutiae...

    Anyway, if the patent isn't valid, at least it's now possible to get it invalidated.
    Reply
  • mrmez
    21068302 said:
    Great. Instead of spending money for innovation companies do nothing but pay fines here and there. Money which disappears in bloody politicians' pocket.

    That makes no sense.
    Patent infringements are the very thing stopping companies from innovating.
    Why should I spend a billion dollars on R&D when another company can steal it with no penalty?

    You can thank Samsung for forcing Pioneer out of the TV market. Pioneer had amazing plasma screens. Samsung illegally used their patents, undercut them on price, then dragged out the legal battle for so long that by the time they inevitably lost, Pioneer's TV business was damaged beyond saving.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    21068688 said:
    21068302 said:
    Great. Instead of spending money for innovation companies do nothing but pay fines here and there. Money which disappears in bloody politicians' pocket.

    That makes no sense.
    Patent infringements are the very thing stopping companies from innovating.
    Don't be ridiculous. Patent trolling has had a very real and substantial effect on innovation. I can't even believe anyone would argue with that statement!

    Sure, trolling and infringement are both harmful, but to create a false dichotomy between the two is either disingenuous or missing the point.
    Reply
  • ElectrO_90
    Always in America, Samsung loses, but when outside of America, Samsung cases against them are thrown out.
    This is protectionism, America thinks foreign companies are stealing your tech, and wants to protect it. Yet, America thinks Apple is American.
    It's really funny how America likes to think its the big dog, and it really isn't any more.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    21068881 said:
    This is protectionism, America thinks foreign companies are stealing your tech
    Gosh, read much? The plaintiff is:
    Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

    There are more juicy details. If you're not just interested in trying to score cheap points, try clicking on the source. They describe KAIST as "one of South Korea’s top research universities", which Samsung partnered with on this and other semiconductor research, and point out that even Intel licensed FinFET from them.

    I think Kevin didn't include those bits because he didn't want to totally rip Bloomberg's piece, but he did give us enough that you could follow-up, if the subject caught your interest.
    Reply
  • Colif
    I doubt Samsung will notice fine at end of year

    Reply
  • ElectrO_90
    21069049 said:
    21068881 said:
    This is protectionism, America thinks foreign companies are stealing your tech
    Gosh, read much? The plaintiff is:
    Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

    There are more juicy details. If you're not just interested in trying to score cheap points, try clicking on the source. They describe KAIST as "one of South Korea’s top research universities", which Samsung partnered with on this and other semiconductor research, and point out that even Intel licensed FinFET from them.

    I think Kevin didn't include those bits because he didn't want to totally rip Bloomberg's piece, but he did give us enough that you could follow-up, if the subject caught your interest.

    Maybe you missed this part - a federal jury in Texas on Friday said that the South Korean electronics company infringed a US patent.... Probably because it didn't infringe a Patent in S Korea....
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    21068688 said:
    You can thank Samsung for forcing Pioneer out of the TV market. Pioneer had amazing plasma screens. Samsung illegally used their patents, undercut them on price, then dragged out the legal battle for so long that by the time they inevitably lost, Pioneer's TV business was damaged beyond saving.

    I'm not so sure about that. Pioneer was never one of the Big Three HDTV OEMs out there (Sony, LG, Samsung). Pioneer should have known better than to take on a market dominating panel maker and instead focus on what they do best: audio equipment. I mean seriously. When did Pioneer ever get into video beforehand? I don't recall them ever making tube TVs like Sony had been doing since introducing their first "Trinitron" CRT TV before we even landed on the moon. Sony had a joint agreement with Samsung for LCD panel tech and in 2011 or so sold their stake to them for almost a cool billion. They are currently vested with Sharp.

    LG and Matsushita settled a similar dispute over plasma tech and signed a mutual licensing agreement before it ever got to the courts. To me that entire fiasco between Pioneer and Samsung was completely unnecessary but apparently both sides could not reach an agreement so egos got in the way. Pioneer lost and should have known better than to pick a battle with an expert and giant in the field, which Pioneer was not. Oh by the way, I still have my 720p 42" Samsung plasma built in 2007. I only keep it in a spare room now for guests as it just uses way too much power and creates too much heat.

    21068881 said:
    This is protectionism, America thinks foreign companies are stealing your tech, and wants to protect it. Yet, America thinks Apple is American.It's really funny how America likes to think its the big dog, and it really isn't any more.

    1) That's because history is rife with our tech getting stolen (or sold illegally by corporate insiders).

    2) We are the big dog as a single nation. We have a higher per capita GDP based on population than all EU nations combined.

    3) Last time I checked, an American created Apple and their headquarters are in the US. Unless you are talking about some other Apple company I'm not aware of.

    4) Why do you non-Americans think it is okay to protectionist your own nation's companies and industry but the US cannot? Oh silly me. I'm probably talking to a European who thinks it is perfectly fine for the EU leadership bureaucrats based in Brussels to tell Brits what types of electric teapots they are allowed to own based on energy rating consumption.

    21068302 said:
    Great. Instead of spending money for innovation companies do nothing but pay fines here and there. Money which disappears in bloody politicians' pocket.

    Actually any of that money gets passed on to we the consumer in future product price hikes. And I don't know what politicians have to do with lawsuit spats between corporations. I do know that the lawyers always win in the end though whether or not their client wins.
    Reply