Eye-tracking Galaxy S4 could infringe LG patent

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Eye-tracking Galaxy S4 could infringe LG patent

A patent dispute could emerge between Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics as it was belatedly revealed that several technologies in the new Galaxy S4 are similar to ideas patented by LG years ago.

LG has owned a patent for eye-tracking technology on smartphones since August 2009, according to the Korea Intellectual Property Office yesterday.

The feature stops videos when a user’s eyes move away from the screen. It is included in Samsung’s Galaxy S4 as “Smart Pause,” but LG calls it “Smart Video” and plans to include it in a software upgrade for the high-end Optimus G next month.

LG also recently acquired a patent from the state-run property office for a technology that enables a smartphone’s front-facing camera to recognize the eye movements of a user and automatically scroll the image on screen up and down.

A similar feature in the new Galaxy S4 released by Samsung called “Smart Scroll” lets users scroll Web pages or e-mails by tilting the phone back and forth, but only when the front-facing camera knows that eyes are fixed on the screen.

“Given that we acquired eye-recognition patents earlier than our competitor [Samsung], we will look into whether the patents have been infringed upon,” LG said.

But Samsung insisted that the features in question are based on “an entirely different mechanism” in the Galaxy and that there is no possibility of a patent violation.

Samsung proudly presented its latest product at an unveiling event last Thursday in New York.

The phone is set for release in April.

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