Beijing court upholds Huawei’s rights in smartphone patent disputes with Samsung

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 April, 2018, 7:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 April, 2018, 7:17pm

A Beijing court specialising in intellectual property (IP) rights disputes has dismissed requests from Samsung Electronics seeking invalidation of Huawei Technologies’ certain patent rights on smartphones after an earlier local Chinese court decision banned sales of certain phone models from the South Korean brand.

The Beijing IP Court confirmed that Huawei’s patent rights on smartphones involved in the disputes with Samsung were valid and it denied any procedural violation in the previous patent review process, which had dismissed Samsung’s requests on the grounds of they lacked a factual and legal basis, according to a report by China Intellectual Property News on Sunday – a newspaper supervised by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).

The report added that Huawei and Samsung both appealed to the Beijing Higher People’s Court after the decision. The latest verdict could not be found by searching the website of the Beijing Court.

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“Huawei has already received the verdict. Huawei believes that the resection and protection on each other’s intellectual property rights can make returns on the research and development (R&D) investments, and promote the industry innovation and healthy and sustainable development of the industry,” the Chinese company said in a statement issued Tuesday. 

Samsung did not reply to a media query sent by email on Tuesday.

Once a dominant player in China, Samsung’s smartphone share in the world’s largest phone market slumped below 1 per cent to only 0.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with Huawei’s 20 per cent during the same period, according to a Strategy Analytics report released this week. 

The court rulings have not yet impacted Samsung’s Chinese sales as its latest flagship models Galaxy S9 series, and other C series and W series products, are still sold through retail shops and online stores in China. 

Huawei and Samsung, the world’s two largest Android smartphone suppliers, have been involved in a lengthy legal showdown in both China and the US ever since the Chinese smartphone brand filed its patent infringement case against Samsung in San Francisco and in two Chinese local courts in May and June 2016. The lawsuit seeks compensation for Samsung’s alleged violation of Huawei’s intellectual property, including 11 patents on 4G mobile-related technologies and certain software used on Samsung’s smartphones.

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The recent ruling from Beijing court was responding to the appeal by Samsung which failed to invalidate Huawei’s certain smartphone patents from SIPO’s Patent Reexamination Board (PRB) in July 2016. Samsung claimed there were procedural violations as well as serious mistakes in the identified facts and applicable laws in the PRB ruling and demanded a review of the case.

The patent rights recognition case is crucial to Samsung’s ability to sell certain smartphone models in China as the South Korean company has failed in several legal proceedings with Huawei in China.

In April 2017, a court in Quanzhou, Fujian province ordered Samsung’s Chinese subsidiaries to pay Huawei 80 million yuan (US$12.7 million) in damages and suspend production and sales of more than 20 Galaxy smartphone and tablet models. Samsung subsequently appealed to the higher court in Fujian but the appeal was dismissed by the court in December 2017.

In January this year, a court in Shenzhen, where the privately held Huawei is based, ruled against Samsung and ordered it to stop unauthorised use of Huawei’s patented wireless communications technologies in its smartphone production and sales.