Electronic parts maker JAHWA Electronics is preparing for a patent lawsuit in Vietnam. It has received opinion statements from Vietnamese authorities that M Plus, a smartphone vibration motor company, violated JAHWA Electronics' patent rights.
According to industry sources, JAHWA Electronics received a favorable opinion from the Vietnamese Intellectual Property Research Institute (VIPRI) in January. In its opinion, the Vietnamese patent authorities found that M Plus violated the patent rights of JAHWA Electronics. JAHWA Electronics plans to use this statement in the actual litigation.
JAHWA Electronics is of the opinion that its two patents related to vibration motors (No. 19164 · 20318) have been infringed. This is because the company thinks that M Plus has used without authorization the patents for the vibration motor for smartphones that it produces at its factory in Vietnam and supplies to Samsung Electronics. If the court in Vietnam concludes that M Plus has infringed the patents, the decision can hinder the business of M Plus. Theoretically, if a preliminary injunction against infringement is made, M Plus must cease to operate its local production facility. This will block the overseas market for products produced in Vietnam. JAHWA Electronics, which has a production facility in Vietnam, can expect to be benefitted from the injunction.
JAHWA Electronics believes that the Vietnamese patent authorities' patent report will be beneficial to the actual litigation. An official of JAHWA Electronics said, "In the litigation of trademark infringement of Choco Pie, which Orion won against local companies last year, an official statement played an important role." The official added, "The goal is to get a reasonable patent license fee." One expert said, "If there is a clear patent infringement, the company has already received the statement from the patent authority, it will be advantageous for the patent holder."
The variable is the fact that the number of Vietnamese patent precedents is low. Some question whether the court will make a favorable judgment for the patentee. Another expert said, "If the Vietnam factory is shut down, the jobs for local people may disappear. It will be difficult for a local court to issue a ruling favorable to a foreign (Korean) patentee." The cost of a patent dispute in Vietnam is relatively low and a resolution is found quickly. Thus, JAHWA Electronics would not suffer a large loss even if it does not obtain the desired result. The statement of opinion that JAHWA Electronics received in January was issued only three months after the request made in November last year.
Meanwhile, both companies are in the process of patent disputes and invalidation trials in Korea. Some of the patents claimed by JAHWA Electronics to have been infringed upon have already been invalidated. M Plus filed an invalidation claim for the two disputed patents (No. 1228294 · 1228297) last December. Both are 'linear vibration generator' patents and it is related to the 19164 Vietnamese patent.
An official from M Plus said, "There is nothing to be said publicly about the ongoing patent dispute."
JAHWA Electronics posted sales of 360 billion won and an operating loss of 8 billion won in 2018. M Plus generated sales of 52 billion won and an operating loss of 3 billion won in 2017. Wisol, surface acoustic wave (SAW) filter maker, holds a 35.9% stake in M Plus. Wisol has been acquired by Daeduck Electronics, a PCB maker, in 2017.