German industrial giant Siemens has filed suit against both South Korea’s LG and Samsung in Germany and the United States, alleging the companies are infringing on Siemens LED patents in both back-lit flat-panel LCD displays and in LED lighting. Similar suits are expected to be filed in China and Japan this week.
LED lighting applications are particularly in-demand, with the technology being applied to everything from conventional and automobile lighting to mobile phones, televisions, computer displays, and (of course) digital signage—industry watchers are seeing Siemens’ suits as a move to defend its technology from low-cost manufacturers in CHina and east Asia that are looking to undercut its business.
Philips and other large LED lighting makers license patents from Osram to manufacture their products; LG and Samsung do not.
The lawsuits also come just a few months before Siemens is scheduled to sell off a majority stake in Osram Opto Semiconductors, which is currently the second-largest lighting technology manufacturer in the world, following Philips. The lawsuits might be a tactic to pump up Osram’s value before the company goes on the public stock market in September.
Analysts estimate Osram’s IPO will be valued between $7.5 and $8.5 billion. The sale should be one of the largest IPOs held in Germany in recent years.