Samsung agrees to pay $150 million to settle patent lawsuits over LED technology

Samsung Electronics has agreed to pay $150 million (about Rs 1,237 crore) to British nanotech firm Nanoco Technologies to settle patent lawsuits over technology used in Samsung’s LED TVs, Nanoco and an investor in his business.

Nanoco and Chicago-based litigation finance firm GLS Capital said in a statement that the settlement, which includes a license agreement and the “transfer of certain patents”, resolves litigation in the United States, Germany and in China.

Samsung and Nanoco told a Texas federal court on the eve of a trial last month that they had agreed to settle the dispute, but no terms were disclosed at the time.

Samsung representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nanoco’s quantum dots improve the backlighting of LED screens without the use of toxic heavy metals like cadmium. He sued Samsung in 2020, alleging the Korean tech giant copied his technology after receiving samples during discussions about a potential collaboration.

The Texas lawsuit said Samsung began integrating Nanoco’s technology into high-end QLED TVs launched in 2017.

Third-party funding of lawsuits has become increasingly common in recent years, although details about specific investments are rarely made public. Critics such as the US Chamber of Commerce have warned that the practice obscures who is suing and promotes unnecessary litigation. Funders say it can level the playing field and promote justice.

Nanoco CEO Brian Tenner said in a statement that funding from GLS Capital “enabled us to pursue our claims on equal footing against a much larger adversary.”

GLS co-founder Adam Gill said Nanoco would receive more than 60% of the proceeds from the settlement, but declined to provide further details on their funding agreement. He said the firm was “proud” to have supported Nanoco in the dispute.

GLS subsidiary Celerity IP is separately managing Taiwanese technology company Asustek Computer’s efforts to enforce its portfolio of 3G, 4G and 5G wireless patents, Gill said.

The case is Nanoco Technologies Ltd v. Samsung Electronics, US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, No. 2:20-cv-00038.

For Nanoco: Michael Newman, Jim Wodarski, Michael Renaud, Tom Wintner and Matt Galica of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo

For Samsung: Greg Arovas, Ed Donovan and Jeanne Heffernan of Kirkland & Ellis.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series of smartphones launched earlier this week and the South Korean company’s high-end handsets have seen a few upgrades across all three models. What about the price increase? We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and wherever you get your podcasts.
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