Samsung Heavy, HHI win lawsuit vs. DSME

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Samsung Heavy, HHI win lawsuit vs. DSME

Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries have won a patent case in which they sued Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering to nullify its patent on partial re-liquefaction technology.

Korea’s top three shipbuilders are fighting over a system to liquefy boil-off gas (BOG) naturally emitted from liquid natural gas (LNG) carriers at sail and recycle them as fuel. It is a key technology directly linked to the fuel efficiency of eco-friendly LNG carriers that all three used to secure orders.

On Friday, Korea’s Patent Court said that Daewoo’s technology wasn’t much different than what was already being used in the industry, overturning a May 2015 ruling from a tribunal court.

Amid the global trend of tightening environmental regulations, the demand for eco-friendly LNG carriers has been rising. Demand for the technology is relatively steady in the difficult shipbuilding market, which is why HHI and SHI are sensitive to Daewoo’s patent rights to the technology.

In January 2014, DSME registered for a patent for the technology, which Hyundai Heavy and Samsung Heavy said were they already using in their ships at the time. Daewoo claimed they had sole rights to the technology to promote to potential contractors, and warned it would take legal action if their competitors presented the technology at exhibits or promoting it to obtain orders.

Hyundai and Samsung each sued to annul DSME’s patent on two types of relevant technology in December 2014 and March 2015. The recent ruling was made on the judgement that their systems for BOG re-liqueficaction on LNG carriers weren’t different from Daewoo’s.

Meanwhile, DSME is maintaining its original stance and claiming the system as an exclusive technology. The company said it plans to appeal to Friday’s ruling to the Supreme Court.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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