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Samsung Sues China’s BOE Technology In Ongoing Patent War Over iPhone Displays

A patent war has erupted over lucrative contracts for supplying iPhone screens.

The patent war between Apple display supplier BOE Technology Group and Samsung Electronics has erupted afresh over alleged infringement in the manufacture of OLED displays.

At stake are lucrative contracts for supplying displays for the coming iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus with BOE Technology possibly producing up to 70 percent of iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus displays, says a well-placed Korean analyst. Samsung had been the major supplier for iPhone 14 panels.

The tit-for-tat war has been underway for some time.

In December 2022, Samsung lodged a complaint with the US International Trade Commission taking aim at 17 repair shops that allegedly obtained unlawful display panels to repair iPhones and Galaxy smartphones – a complaint obliquely targeted at BOE. The ITC opened an investigation into the matter.

BOE Technology Group headquarters

BOE Technology Group headquarters

In May, the Beijing headquartered BOE Technology and two subsidiaries hit back, filing six legal proceedings against Samsung and five of its Chinese entities primarily involved in producing display panels and semiconductors, said AppleInsider.

Now Samsung has hit back again, suing BOE Technology and an associated entity in an east Texas court for infringing five of its patents. The Chinese display maker is targeting Samsung’s Display arm in its lawsuit.

At risk is Samsung’s relationship with Apple. Samsung Display supplied more than 70 percent of OLED panels for iPhone 14, according to TheElec, which said Samsung Display won the contract due to setbacks being experienced by BOE and another supplier, LG Display at that time.

The apparent freezing out of Samsung Display for iPhone 15 after it dominated iPhone 14 supply for screens is at the heart of this latest lawsuit over patents, with the iPhone 15 due to be announced in September.

The new Sanmsung lawsuit was filed on June 26 and targets BOE Technology and BOE Optoelectronics Technology. It accuses its Chinese rival of breaching four of its patented OLED technologies in the production of iPhone 12, including Samsung Display’s Diamond Pixel technology.

Samsung Display

Samsung Display

The Korean Times has reported data showing the country had ranked first in the world for OLED displays for 17 years and in 2022 it achieved a market share of 81.3 percent as against China’s 17.9 percent.

But China was catching up in the small and medium-sized OLED display sector and after market dominance.

This in turn will be of concern to the US government with US president Joe Biden citing the rise of autocratic states and the future of US critical technologies.

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