A Manchester firm will this week start a David and Goliath courtroom battle towards South Korea’s Samsung over alleged use of its know-how with out licensing it.
Nanoco, which is listed on London’s AIM junior market, claims Samsung used its “quantum dot” know-how in its vary of QLED, or “quantum LED”, TVs with out permission.
The worth of the declare might reportedly be as excessive as $500m (£415m). The case is because of start a courtroom in Texas on Friday.
Nanoco, which spun out of Manchester University, develops “quantum dots”, tiny particles that make tv screens seem brighter.
Its know-how is much less environmentally hazardous than options, because it is freed from the polluting factor cadmium.
New authorized filings, seen by The Telegraph, reveal that Samsung got here near buying Nanoco in December 2019 for round £60m, however the deal fell aside. Other events included personal fairness firm Fortress and enterprise investor Seven Hills.
Nanoco has accused Samsung of copying its know-how after working with the corporate for years. In 2010, it started talks with Samsung and supplied samples with a view to licensing the know-how.
But in 2015, Samsung launched a variety of televisions allegedly utilising its innovations with out paying for the rights.
The case might be tried in Texas, which is understood for its speedy patent courtroom course of, the place a jury will determine whether or not the patents have been infringed and award damages. Whoever loses can apply to attraction the last word judgment and penalty.
Nanoco can be suing Samsung in Germany, the place it’s looking for a gross sales injunction on the corporate’s TVs, in addition to in China.
Brian Tenner, Nanoco’s chief govt, mentioned: “We labored with Samsung and shared a whole lot of information with them, all below NDA. Then in 2015, Samsung launched a QLED with out taking out any licence.”
He added: “We then talked to them for a few years saying, ‘Look, this does not fairly scent proper, we would wish to get a business answer’.
“Eventually, we put them on discover that we thought they have been infringing our IP, that did not produce an settlement. So ultimately, we have been compelled to sue them.”
The jury will determine how a lot restitution a claimant receives if they’re profitable. Mr Tenner declined to touch upon the last word worth of the declare, however has beforehand mentioned it believes the rewards could possibly be price “a number of instances the worth” of Nanoco.
In a separate course of earlier this 12 months, the US Patent Board dominated in favour of Nanoco’s patents after their validity was challenged by Samsung.
In courtroom filings, Samsung has denied “committing any acts of infringement at any time”. Samsung didn’t reply to a request for remark.