Patents emerging as strategic weapon for firms

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Patents emerging as strategic weapon for firms

Corporations, especially those in the fiercely competitive IT sector, will increasingly mobilize patents as strategic weapons in the battle for market dominance next year, according to an analysis of industry megatrends released by Samsung SDS yesterday.

“With the emergence of a flurry of patent-related disputes lately, it has become ever more important for late movers in the patent field - Korea, for instance - to develop strategies based on the longer-term view that patents are not merely a means to protect themselves but also a way of attacking others when necessary,” said Cha In-hyok, vice president of Samsung SDS, at a press conference in southern Seoul. Samsung Group’s IT service provider started releasing the annual reports in 2005.

Cha stressed that global companies now routinely acquire patents for advanced technologies, thus heightening the entry barrier for those that follow. But he declined to comment on the raging patent war between Apple and Samsung Electronics.

He took the example of Intellectual Ventures, one of five companies that owned the highest number of U.S.-registered patents as of last year. The company has been producing and acquiring patents on the back of investments from venture capital firms amounting to billions of dollars. It makes its money by reselling them to large firms.

“What they are doing is trying to monopolize the future,” Cha said.

The report also predicted that companies will strive harder to find ways of tackling energy consumption.

“The IT sector is conventionally perceived as being environmentally aware, but that is not quite true,” he said. “With the rapid growth of big data and smartphone-supporting cloud services, energy consumption at data centers has shot up. They could actually become a key culprit behind environmental pollution.”

Facebook has already come up with one solution. It is now building a data center in the northern Swedish city of Lulea as the biting cold weather can cool the company’s high-performance computers.

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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