South Korean technology giant LG Electronics has applied to a local court attempting to ban the sale of Audi and BMW vehicles in the country over an ongoing patent row.
The two German manufacturers use LED products produced by Osram, a division of Siemens. LG and component affiliate LG Innotek have joined forces with Samsung LED in countersuing Osram in South Korea, after Siemens/Osram earlier filed suits against LG and Samsung in Germany, Japan and the US.
Osram claims the two companies infringed its patents on white LEDs and surface-mountable LEDs, while LG claims the products used in Audi and BMW products infringe up to seven patents relating to LED chips and packaging.
“We’ve decided to expand the legal case to automakers using LED package products made by Osram, as the infringement is increasingly affecting the fast-growing LED industry,” LG said in a statement.
LG filed a separate sales injunction request in July to ban the import of Osram’s LED products.
If the Seoul Central District Court allows the injunction to proceed, it will be a significant obstacle for both German luxury brands.
BMW is the most popular imported car brand in South Korea, accounting for one in four imported cars sold so far this year. South Korean sales totaled 16,579 vehicles for the first eight months of the year.
Audi is a smaller brand, although it still makes up 10 per cent of the import market, with 6668 South Korean sales so far this year. Combined, the two manufacturers have sold around 2000 more vehicles in South Korea this year than they have in Australia.
A date for the court hearing is yet to be set. Until then, it’s business as usual for Audi and BMW.