Samsung is investing $25 million in a new company which is designed to help protect intellectual property. The money is being used to form Intellectual Keystone Technology (IKT) based in Washington-DC, which will function as in an independent body dedicated to developing and trading technology patents. According to Korea Times, the business started operations back in March.
A spokesperson form Samsung had this to say on the opening of the new patent business:
Patents are a good source of innovation and we also need to protect our intellectual property by strengthening our patent-related business.
Interestingly, the company is said to be focusing on display technology patents, particularly patents related to OLED and LCD technology. IKT has already purchased display related patents from Japanese firm Seiko Epson, and will continue to stock up on patents to protect one of Samsung’s most dominant business arms.
You can’t really blame Samsung for the decision. After all, the company has been engaged in a wave of lawsuits with virtually all of its competitors over the past few years. Combine that with the billion dollar defeat to Apple in the U.S. courts recently and you can understand Samsung’s need to bolster its protection against further lawsuits.
But as well as protecting Samsung from potential disputes in the future, the new company is also likely to be used to extract licensing fees from other competitors using Samsung’s patents and may also be in charge of deciding which patents Samsung should acquire licenses for. Samsung is one of the key players in the mobile display market at the moment, and is no-doubt keen to strengthen its grip on this section of the industry.
If you ask me, it seems like a bit of a waste when a company has to spend $25 million in legal matters when the money could be put to better use investing in new products and technologies. But unfortunately this seems to be a necessary cost of doing business in an industry which appears to be increasingly hostile over intellectual property disputes.