SamsungMilkVideo

Samsung is no stranger to lawsuits, especially in the smartphone era. For the past several years, it has been engaged in a protracted legal battle with Apple over patent infringement issues. More recently, it was sued by NVIDIA,  and now it looks like more legal proceedings have hit the books.

Milk Studios, a multimedia company with whom Samsung has worked with in the past, is suing the Korean company for trademark infringement: Samsung chose the Milk Music and Milk Video names for its recently released streaming music and video service. According to The Wall Street Journal:

“The complaint… alleges that Samsung “intentionally, willfully and knowingly” used the Milk name for its music-streaming services to take advantage of the “cachet” associated with Milk Studios… [the plaintiff] is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for what it called unfair competition and trademark dilution.”

So far, things make sense: an established company would want to protect its name/brand value from being used by a third party, especially when said party is making use of the name for a similar business venture: media. Things get more interesting however, when examining the extent of Samsung’s relationship with Milk Studios:

“Milk Music was developed after Samsung partnered with Milk Studios on more than 18 occasions since 2006, including photo shoots at the studio as late as September 2014…Milk Studios asked Samsung to stop using the Milk trademark in March, and Samsung asked for time to consider the proposal before informing Milk Studios in August that it wouldn’t cease offering services under the Milk name.”

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Logically, Samsung had time to use the interim period between the initial grievance and its decision to evaluate the prospect of legal action. The fact that the company didn’t change the name would imply it either had sufficient knowledge as to the legal liability of the failure to comply such as to not feel threatened, or else it simply didn’t care. One thing that seems a bit odd is the aforementioned September 2014 work with Milk Studios: why would the plaintiff continue to work with Samsung even after the Korean giant decided not to change the name? Was there a pre-existing contract in play?

Suffice to say, with profits on a sharp decrease, Samsung can’t really be burdened down with frivolous lawsuits. Expect there to be more revealed as this case progresses, though it wouldn’t be surprising should it ultimately be settled out of court.

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