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Largan Sues Samsung Over Smartphone Camera Lens Patents

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Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Largan Precision Co., a Taiwanese smartphone camera lens maker, sued Samsung Electronics Co. for infringing six of its imaging lens patents in Samsung’s Galaxy Note and S series smartphones.

The Nov. 14 complaint filed in U.S. federal court in San Diego seeks unspecified “treble damages,” which investor relations employee Amanda Chiu today declined to define.

Largan, the world’s biggest designer and manufacturer of imaging lens products used in mobile devices according to its lawsuit, has also sued Taiwan-listed competitors including Genius Electronic Optical Co. and Ability Opto-Electronics Technology Co. this year over patent infringement. Taichung City, Taiwan-based Largan may sue other companies, Chiu said.

“We are carefully reviewing this matter and not able to provide any details at this moment,” Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung said in a statement in response to questions about Largan’s lawsuit.

Largan also asked the U.S. court to halt imports of Samsung products that infringe its patents. Chiu declined to say whether Samsung is or has been a client.

Shares of Largan, which counts Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. among its customers, were unchanged in Taipei at NT$1,065.00 as of 1:08 p.m. after surging 6 percent yesterday. Shares have climbed 37 percent so far this year compared to a 6.8 percent rise in Taiwan’s benchmark Taiex index. Samsung fell 1.2 percent to 1,471,000 million won.

SinoPac Securities Corp. wrote in a note today Largan’s lawsuit signals confidence in its patents, underscoring the company’s “leading” position in high-end camera lenses. The camera lens maker is consolidating its market leader position by defending its patents, according to a research note from Jih Sun Securities Investment Consulting Co. today.

The case is Largan Precision Co. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. et al, 13-2740, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

To contact the reporters on this story: Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net; Yu-Huay Sun in Taipei at ysun7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net