Forewarned is forearmed for patent-savvy firms

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Forewarned is forearmed for patent-savvy firms

As local electronic appliance makers cotton on to the importance of patent laws to safeguard their products - including ones they haven’t even dreamed up yet - LG Electronics has begun recruiting an army of lawyers fresh out of law school as well as a number specializing in patents.

The nation’s second-largest maker of smartphones said yesterday it is accepting applications until Nov. 4 from graduates or those who are set to complete their studies by February.

The new recruits will be given a position just above entry level and will be allocated to 21 non-legal departments that cover management, purchasing, accounting, public relations and other fields in a bid to create a “synergy effect” with those lacking in legal expertise, LG said.

LG is following in the footsteps of its biggest rival Samsung, which embarked on a similar recruitment procedure last month for 10 of its affiliates including Samsung SDS and Samsung Life Insurance.

This is seen as a preemptive measure against future legal disputes in the wake of a protracted and ongoing patent battle between Samsung Electronics and Apple in various countries since April last year.

Additionally, more overseas tech companies that have developed their own patents, or acquired them from third parties, are jumping on these as hot revenue sources when patent controversies emerge.

LG said it will also proceed with hiring entry-level workers at its patent center, albeit under a “separate recruitment process.”

Those who are selected will analyze and assist in patent-related affairs, but not all of the successful applicants will require a patent practitioner certificate, LG said.

Samsung Electronics has begun its third round of hiring this year for experienced patent practitioners with college degrees in electronics, telecommunications and software. The previous two stages took place in February and July. The new employees will be based in Suwon.

The world’s top smartphone producer has improved the level of patent expertise among its work force and had 450 specialists on the payroll at the end of last year, up from 250 in 2005.

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

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