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Samsung sues Dyson following 'intolerable' copycat claims

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Samsung is suing Dyson for 10 billion won (around $9.4 million) following claims from the British vacuum maker that a Samsung product looked like a "cynical rip-off" of its design. Dyson sued Samsung last year, accusing the company of infringing on its patented vacuum-steering system. That lawsuit was later dropped, but not before depicting Samsung as a repeat patent violator, the Korean company alleges. Samsung confirms in a statement to The Korea Times that the accusations "seriously hurt its corporate image," adding that Dyson's "groundless litigation" was "intolerable."

"Samsung is going to take a hard-line stance against patent trolls."

Following Dyson's decision to drop its lawsuit, Samsung co-CEO Yoon Boo-keun said the company would take "a hard-line stance against patent trolls that use litigations as a marketing tool," and the company is now following through on that promise. Although the $9.4 million figure is not a lot of money to either company, the amount could increase if the courts agree with Samsung's position. The lawsuit isn't about money, however; Dyson has a history of pursuing rivals for patent infringement — the company has previously successfully sued both Samsung and Hoover — and Samsung says the lawsuit is an attempt to prevent "similar incidents" from reoccurring.

Update: Dyson provided the following statement to us.

"Dyson pioneered cyclonic vacuum cleaners and digital motors – and has been developing them ever since. We patent our technology, and naturally defend it. It is surprising that a company over 100 times bigger than Dyson is so worried. The patent system offers us some protection, but not enough: with an army of lawyers, hidden prior art is occasionally found and ways to design around existing patents identified."