Samsung and LG cannot divide Russia

Manufacturers are arguing about a patent for the design of smartphones.
The biggest South Korean smartphone makers Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have entered into a dispute over intellectual property in the Russian market. For over a year, Samsung cannot register the design of its smartphone Galaxy Note Edge in Rospatent. The reason for not accepting it was that LG has a similar petent..

In December 2016, the Chamber for Patent Disputes refused to grant Samsung a patent for an industrial design pattern that the company had used to produce its Galaxy Note Edge, as follows from the published decisions of Rospatent. The refusal is motivated by the fact that such a decision had been already patented a few years ago by LG.

The trial began in October 2015, when the decision to refuse the grant of a patent to Samsung was issued by Rospatent. According to the service expertise, "the stated solution appearance of the product is not original, as the essential features of the claimed art-design decisions are not due to the creative nature of the features of the product." In May 2016, Samsung filed an application for review of the decision to the Chamber for Patent Disputes. The manufacturer, in particular, pointed out the uniqueness of asymmetric embodiment of the front and side of the display window relative to the sides of the Galaxy Note Edge. The Collegium of the Chamber pointed out that such a decision in was patented by LG in October 2013.

Samsung has a right to appeal the decision in court for intellectual property rights, but  Samsung declined to comment whether it intends to do so, saying only that Galaxy Note Edge "has not been available on the market for about a year and a half" (the device was released in November 2014). The representatives of LG also declined to comment.

The fact that Samsung is trying to get a patent for the design of the smartphone that is actually already withdrawn from the market, it is not surprising, says a lawyer from law office A2 Xenia Reef. Thus, in December 2016 the US Supreme Court took the side of Samsung in its dispute with Apple for patent infringement on the design of the flat screen of a rectangular shape and arrangement of symbols on it. The conflict began in 2011 and has not yet been finally resolved, even though both companies have already changed their product ranges. The victory in court and a prove of patent infringement is an opportunity not only to recover from a compensation (in the case of Apple and Samsung conflict it is $1 billion), but also limit the competitor's ability to use successful design and technological solutions, says Ms. Reef.

Although Samsung does not supply this smartphone anymore, by owning the patent, the company would be able to prohibit the sale of the same or similar devices, and other producers present on the Russian market, says COO of Online Patent and Patent Attorney Alina Akinshina. Now no market participants has a "temporary monopoly" on such a design.

In general, Samsung is "aggressively" building up the base of patents: in the last year in the US alone the South Korean company received an average of 15 patents every day, reminds Xenia Reef. However, this also applies to its direct competitors, including Apple and LG. The two South Korean manufacturers also had earlier disputes about intellectual property. For example, in December 2012, Samsung filed a lawsuit against LG in South Korea's court, believing that it had allegedly violated seven Samsung patents in the last generation of its displays. LG filed a counterclaim, demanding to ban the sale of the tablet Galaxy Note 10.1. In September 2013, Samsung and LG signed a truce in the patent war.