Samsung Display has filed a patent infringement lawsuit over OLED panels against BOE in the US.
The South Korean display panel maker in its complaint filed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas late last month claimed its Chinese rival infringed on five of its patents related to OLED in the panels it supplied iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.
As BOE began supplying 6.1-inch OLED panels to Apple starting in 2020 with the iPhone 12 and is continuing to do so, the patents also likely relate to panels in iPhone 14.
Three out of the five patents are patents that explain the red, green, and blue subpixel structure of what Samsung Display calls Diamond Pixel.
The five patents are also the exact same ones that Samsung Display cited in its request for investigation filed against 17 importers and distributors (not BOE directly but those that import its products) on alleged patent infringement to the US International Trade Commission filed in December last year. Samsung Display initially cited four patents but added another in March this year.
BOE meanwhile last month through two separate filings asked to invalidate three patents of Samsung Display, and is expected to add the two other patents as well.
The Chinese panel maker also filed its own patent lawsuit against Samsung Display and Samsung Electronics in Chongqing, China in May.
Samsung Display’s latest lawsuit directed towards BOE is an escalation from this.
The South Korean display panel maker, beginning in January 2022, had stated publicly that it will use its patents to protect its interest in the OLED market.
Sources said what triggered this was that its contract with Apple that has Cupertino guaranteed purchase of a certain number of units of OLED panels expired in 2021. Under the contract, Apple was forced to pay Samsung Display penalty payments if it didn’t meet the quota.
But with this contract now expired and LG Display and BOE more aggressively attempting to expand their shares in Apple’s OLED supply chain, Samsung Display was likely forced to act, they added.
Samsung Display has been the largest supplier of OLED panels for iPhones for a long time but in the past two to three years it is seeing its share taken away from LG Display and BOE.