Intellectual property: foreign firms in South Korea

Ropes & Gray LLP

The IP practice group at Ropes & Gray LLP is comprised of David Chun and William Kim. Chun splits his time between the firm's Seoul and Palo Alto offices and represents clients in patent litigation before the US courts while Kim provides bespoke IP advice to company executives and boasts strong connections in the field of IP mediation and arbitration. Much of the firm's recent workload involved instructions from Samsung, who remains a key client. Other notable names on the client roster include Seoul Semiconductor and Naver. The practice regularly litigates on behalf of clients at US trial courts and appellate courts, with some matters reaching the supreme court.

Practice head(s):

David Chun; William Kim

Key clients

CJ CheilJedang

Global OLED Technology

Hanwha Group

LINE Corporation

Mando Corporation

Naver

POSCO

Samsung Electronics

Seoul Semiconductor

SmartThings

Toray Chemical

Work highlights

  • Advising CJ CheilJedang in an International Trade Commission (ITC) investigation filed by its competitor, Ajinomoto, who alleged that CJ and its subsidiaries infringed two Ajinomoto patents directed to methods of producing tryptophan.

Covington & Burling LLP

At Covington & Burling LLP, technology and automotive giants such as Samsung and Hyundai form much of the IP department's client base. The group regularly handles outbound IP litigation by supporting the firm's US practitioners on US district court litigation, s.337 investigations and patent office trials and Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs). In the non-contentious space, IP advisory and data security and privacy work are some core focus areas, as is IP due diligence on transactions. Scott Schrader is the name to note for high-stakes dispute work. Also recommended is Chang Sik Kim, who boasts a penchant for technology-related matters. William Park is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Scott Schrader; William Park

Other key lawyers:

Chang Sik Kim

Key clients

Hanrim Postech

Hyundai Mobis

Hyundai Motor Group

Kia Motors

Kumho Petrochemical

Samsung Display Co. Ltd.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

SK Chemical

SK Hynix

Hanwha Q Cells

Work highlights

  • Representing Samsung in a case involving alleged infringement of six patents related to computer power management patents.
  • Represented Samsung in this patent infringement litigation brought by Onscreen Dynamics in the Eastern District of Texas.
  • Representing Samsung Electronics before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in relation to a patent infringement claim by Polaris PowerLED Technologies, LLC.

Paul Hastings LLP

An especially strong rapport with core client Samsung is a defining feature of the IP practice at Paul Hastings LLP. Key partner Jong Han Kim boasts a relationship with the Korean tech giant that stretches back over 20 years. Other major clients include SK Hynix and LG Display. The firm focuses on US-based patent infringement and trade secret litigation work, with Kim often liaising with practitioners in the firm's DC and Chicago offices to lead matters. Senior associate Han Kyu Lee is another name to note; Lee focuses on internal investigation and complex litigation matters and has prior experience at the DC office of another multinational law firm.

Practice head(s):

Jong Han Kim

Other key lawyers:

Han Kyu Lee

Key clients

Kolon Industries

Samsung Electronics

KCC Corporation

SK Hynix

LG Display

Work highlights

  • Defending Samsung, Globalfoundries and Qualcomm in a major patent infringement dispute over patented technology that was developed by a renowned professor formerly with the Korean Advanced Institute of Science & Technology.
  • Retained to defend both Samsung entities named in litigation filed in the US by the entity which owns the IP rights of the former international soccer star Pele.  
  • Representing Samsung in a high-stakes, multi-venue dispute over three-dimensional memory chips.
  • Defending Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas against CyWee Group. CyWee alleges that Samsung infringes patents related to sensor fusion technology.
  • Defending Samsung against NuCurrent in a complex action involving wireless charging technologies found in Samsung’s flagship Galaxy mobile phones and wearable devices.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Seong Kim, who divides his time between the Seoul and Century City offices, heads up the IP offering at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP. The Seoul team works closely with the firm's offices in California to seamlessly support Korean conglomerates (including Samsung and Hyundai) with US-based IP litigation. Other key areas of expertise include patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, false advertising and unfair competition. Nam Kim is the name to note for patent litigation, patent preparation and prosecution.

Practice head(s):

Seong Kim

Other key lawyers:

Nam Kim

Key clients

Doosan Corporation

Hana Bank

Hyundai Mobis

Samsung Display Ltd.

Samsung Electronics

LG Display Co., Ltd.

Paldo Co., Ltd.

Korea Yakult Co., Ltd.

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction

Iljin Group

Work highlights

  • Representing Samsung Electronics in global, highly-publicized patent and standards-related antitrust governmental proceedings and MDL litigation involving Qualcomm.
  • Successfully defended Samsung Electronics against boycott and monopsonization claims relating to smartphone patent licensing.
  • Represent Hyundai Mobis Co., Ltd., Mobis Parts America, LLC, and Mobis Alabama, LLC, Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors Corporation, Kia Motors America in litigation alleging car and airbag manufacturers infringed on its automobile airbag patents.
  • Represented Samsung in a patent dispute brought by multinational firm Honeywell International, Inc.
  • Representing Doosan Corporation in a dispute over the design and manufacture of hydrogen fuel cell power plant, with damages exceeding $25 million.