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BASF in Fierce Patent Litigation with Korean Smaller Firm


Gobal chemical giant BASF of Germany lost the first and second patent suits against a smaller Korean electronic material company but even appealed to the Supreme Court, brining on public criticism for the long-running patent battle.

According to patent industry sources on March 13, Takoma Technology Co., a smaller Korean company which supplies electronic materials to Samsung SDI, has been fighting a tough patent battle with BASF for years. BASF has taken legal action against Takoma for three years now, and the appeal process at the Supreme Court will begin as early as within this month.

Takoma won the first patent invalidation trial against BASF in December 2015 and also won the second trial at the Patent Court in November last year. However, BASF appealed to the Supreme Court against the decision immediately.

Takoma has secured its own patent technology for TFT LCD photoresist, an electronic material used to produce high-definition displays, and produced and supplied the product to Samsung SDI, Dongjin Semichem and JSR Korea. Due to the product’s excellent quality with low prices, Takoma was expected to secure more clients.

However, the long patent war with BASF will inevitably disrupt the company’s business, leading BASF to be called “patent troll.”

Takoma said that it is hard to understand the BASF’s latest move because German chemical company’s patent will expire two years later. Even when BASF wins the case at the Supreme Court which will take about two years, the company’s patent right will be expired and any company can use the patent.

BASF has secured the relevant patent right after it acquired the Swiss specialty chemicals company Ciba in around 2009 and 2010. The patent battle is a big burden on Takoma. So, some say that global giant is excessively seeking to kill a small business.

As the patent dispute between BASF and Takoma can discourage the current keynote for economic and technical cooperation between South Korea and Germany, Korean scientists, including a former Minister of Science and Technology, sent a letter to BASF asking for negotiations for arbitration. However, BASF said it would continue the patent battle.

Experts say that Takoma’s operating losses will be snowballed when the case at the Supreme Court continues for more than two years.

The Original Posted by Jung Min-hee/Business Korea

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