Jury verdict adds to business woes facing Samsung Electronics

April 24, 2023

Samsung Electronics Co. said Monday it will make its case heard in a patent suit in the Unites States, after a jury concluded last week the South Korean tech giant infringed several semiconductor patents owned by an American company.

“We will review the jury verdict and will make our arguments before the court,” the tech giant said in a short statement sent to Yonhap News Agency.

On Friday (U.S. time), a jury at the Texas Eastern District Court determined the South Korean company infringed five patents related to data processing owned by Netlist Inc.

The jury concluded that Samsung should pay more than US$303 million won to the Irvine, California-based memory company in damages.

In 2021, the U.S. firm filed a patent infringement action against Samsung, arguing the South Korean chipmaker used its technologies in developing memory modules for high-performance computing products without mutual agreement. It had demanded Samsung pay $404 million in damages.

Samsung argued that its technology worked differently from those owned by Netlist.

Samsung Electronics Co.'s logo is seen in this undated photo. (Yonhap)
Samsung Electronics Co.’s logo is seen in this undated photo. (Yonhap)

Netlist, founded in 2000, provides high-performance memory solutions to enterprise customers, and specializes in hybrid memory, merging DRAM and NAND flash raw materials to create memory solutions to server and storage appliance customers and cloud service providers, according to the company’s website.

The company has engaged in a series of legal battles with South Korean chipmakers over patents, including SK hynix Inc.

In April 2021, Netlist said it had reached an agreement with SK hynix over a patent cross license covering memory technologies, and ended all pending legal matters.

Samsung said Monday it will try its best to continue to make its legal case until a final ruling comes out. It declined to share the schedule of the ongoing patent trial.

The news came amid the headwinds the world’s largest memory chip maker is experiencing in recent months, arising from global economic woes that have significantly dented chip demand.

Samsung estimated its January-March operating profit at 600 billion won (US$454.9 million), sharply down from 14.12 trillion won a year ago, due to sluggish demand for tech devices, coupled with customers’ inventory adjustments.

Market analysts cast even gloomier forecasts for Samsung in the second quarter, where it is feared the tech giant will log an operating loss for the first time in 15 years on a continued chip downturn and decline in mobile demand.

Hi Investment & Securities forecast Samsung could suffer an operating loss of as much as 1.28 trillion won, while SK Securities and Samsung Securities put the figures at 600 billion won and 279 billion won, respectively.