Huawei wins patent battles against Samsung, but the larger technology ‘war’ goes on
The patent war between Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co. and its South Korean rival Samsung Electronics Co. has been in the headlines again recently, after China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) announced its latest rulings on eight cases.
The SIPO's Patent Reexamination Board announced on September 30 that five patents involved in Samsung's lawsuits against Huawei are invalid, one is partly invalid and only two remain valid. At this point, 10 of the 16 patent infringement lawsuits Samsung filed against Huawei in China have been determined invalid, accounting for 62.5 percent of the total.
The patent battle started in May 2016 when Huawei first sued Samsung in both China and the US for alleged infringement of its smartphone patents, involving several of its cellular communications technology and software inventions used in Samsung smartphones. In July 2016, Samsung countersued Huawei over six alleged infringement patents.
In April this year, Huawei scored the first point when the Quanzhou Intermediate People's Court in East China's Fujian Province ordered Samsung's Chinese subsidiaries to compensate Huawei for patent infringement.
Intellectual property disputes among technology giants are common, and Chinese smartphone makers used to be the passive defendants in such cases. But Huawei's lawsuits against Samsung indicate that the table has turned. As Chinese companies have improved their global competitiveness substantially over the years, it is inevitable for those aiming to get on the world's top-ranked list to take a more proactive approach in facing patent disputes with their rivals.
So far, Huawei seems to be winning the patent battle against Samsung in China, but it still needs to watch its back and prepare for ongoing lawsuits in the US. Given their general lack of experience in dealing with patent wars, Chinese companies should learn from Huawei to guard against potential patent infringement by rivals and be fully prepared for patent disputes.
More importantly, Chinese companies should continue to beef up their research and development efforts to enhance innovation and develop their own core technologies, which are the foundations of intellectual property. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei once predicted that there would be a world war over patents in the coming five to eight years, so Huawei needed to develop a clear strategy for it. The same is true for other Chinese companies.
(Source: Global Times)