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LG Electronics sues 3 European rivals over patent infringement

LG Electronics said Wednesday it has filed lawsuits against three European home appliance manufacturers with a court in Munich over allegations that they infringed LG’s ice-making patents for side-by-side refrigerators.

The accused companies are Arcelik, Beko and Grundig, affiliates of Turkey-based Koc Group, which sell home electronics in European markets.

LG claimed that the three firms have violated its patents related to an ice-making system built into the door of a freezer. The Korean company holds around 400 international patents related to ice-making technology on a fridge door.

Due to the exclusivity of the technology, LG allows other companies to access its ice-making technology by signing license contracts.

In June, GE Alliances clinched a contract to apply LG’s ice-making technology to its products. 

(LG Electronics)
(LG Electronics)

“LG sent a letter of warning to Beko last year and has been in contact with Arcelik until recently, but no progress on settlement was made,” said a company official regarding the reason for the suit. “The company’s stance is to actively protect its intellectual property and take stern measures against unfair use of patents.”

Major affiliates of LG Group, Korea’s fourth-largest family-owned conglomerate, have recently stepped up efforts to curb alleged patent infringements and the theft of trade secrets, on the basis of protecting its intellectual property.

In April, LG Chem, the group’s chemicals and battery unit, sued domestic competitor SK Innovation with US institutions over job poaching and the theft of trade secrets related to making electric vehicle batteries.

SK Innovation countered the move by suing LG Chem over violations of two battery patents in August. In response, the latter is considering a counter patent lawsuit.

Furthermore, LG Electronics officially took issue with the picture quality of rival Samsung Electronics’ QLED 8K TV earlier this month. It filed a complaint with the Fair Trade Commission on Friday, accusing Samsung of misleading consumers with the incorrect use of tech terms in advertisements of the TV.

“The company has been taking stern measures against patent infringements regardless of (whether they involved) domestic or foreign businesses,” said Jeon Saeng-gyu, executive vice president at LG Electronics.

“Such measures are common among leading global companies that are maintaining technological competitiveness through massive investments in research and development.”

By Song Su-hyun (