Samsung Display had said that it will utilize its patents in various ways amid intensifying competition in the mobile OLED space.
During Samsung Electronics’ conference call for the fourth quarter, Samsung Display executive vice president Choi Kwon-young said that the company “will utilize its patents in various ways,” in response to a question posed by an analyst on how the display panel maker plans to react to the expanded competition in the small- to mid-sized OLED market.
Choi didn’t elaborate further, but people familiar with the matter told TheElec that it could signal that Samsung Display could file patent lawsuits against its rivals such as BOE.
Samsung Display is currently the largest maker of mobile OLED panels by a large margin against its competitors. Apple is one of its biggest customers along with Samsung Electronics.
Rivals LG Display and BOE are also eyeing more orders from Cupertino, which uses the panels on its iPhones.
One of the people familiar with the matter said it was unlikely that Samsung Display will file patent lawsuits immediately against its competitors, as it has more to lose than gain being the largest vendor in the mobile OLED sector.
The company is likely evaluating various strategies amid the increasing competition in the mobile OLED space, they said.
Patent lawsuits are usually filed against each other, with compensation conventionally being proportionate to revenue figures, they said.
This means Samsung Display will likely have to pay more if both parties are shown to have infringed on each others’ patents, they added.
The South Korean display maker may use surrogates such as non-practicing entities (NPE) to file suits however, another one of the people said.
If NPEs file suit against Samsung Display's rivals, they can only counteract by saying the patents are invalid, they said.
Samsung Display could also file suits against its rivals’ component suppliers or distributors in the US to stifle the progress of its competitors, they said.