WASHINGTON & SEOUL, South Korea--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Samsung, the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones, was today served with a lawsuit by Pictos Technologies, Inc. seeking damages for Samsung’s infringement of Pictos’s patented digital imaging technology. Pictos’s technology, developed by its predecessors for the U.S. government and then for the first consumer digital cameras, is fundamental to the cameras in nearly all consumer electronics today.
Pictos filed its complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division alleging that Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics America, Inc., and Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. engaged in industrial espionage, violated non-disclosure agreements and has infringed Pictos’ patents. These actions, Pictos alleges, destroyed its camera sensor business and continues to cause Pictos harm.
Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, has been outspoken on free and fair trade. He took note of Samsung’s trade practices in a letter to Jason Kearns, Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), stating that “The ITC was created to protect the rights of inventors and patent holders. Pictos is a small American company suffering abuse from a large multinational corporation.”
The battle between Pictos and Samsung is playing out against the backdrop of Samsung’s efforts to expand its U.S. operations and concerns in Congress about foreign intellectual property predators. Samsung is seeking to build a $17 billion semiconductor facility in Austin, Texas, according to its filings with officials in Austin and with the state of Texas.
The U.S. Senate is presently looking to address industrial espionage by foreign companies in the CHIPs, Endless Frontiers, or other legislation soon to be considered by Congress to support the development of the U.S. semiconductor industry. Pictos’s story, being only one of many companies that have been damaged by Samsung’s actions, has piqued the interest of legislators looking to protect US industry and national security interests.
U.S. ITC is also actively investigating a Sec. 337 trade complaint lodged by Pictos. That complaint against Samsung is seeking an exclusion order that would protect its intellectual property rights by prohibiting the importation of Samsung consumer electronic and mobile devices with infringing digital imaging components such as mobile phone handsets, tablet computers, laptop computers, digital cameras, and web-based cameras that are designed, operated, distributed, sold, or offered for sale by or for Samsung. Such an embargo, if fully implemented, would stop over $16 billion in imports of infringing Samsung products. The Commission is now investigating Samsung’s behavior; an initial decision should be made by the end of 2021.
Pictos Technologies Inc. is a U.S. owned company based in San Jose CA and organized under the laws of the State of Delaware. Pictos is the successor in interest to ESS Technologies, which, along with its predecessors, developed and patented much of the technology underlying the cameras in mobile devices consumers use on a daily basis.