Samsung agrees to pay $150m to Nanoco following patent dispute

Kirkland and Mintz Levin among advisers as ‘no fault’ settlement reached in wrangle over patents relating to the production of QLED televisions

Samsung has agreed to pay UK nanotechnology company Nanoco $150m in a dispute over patents used in QLED televisions that featured legal teams from global giant Kirkland & Ellis and top 100 US firm Mintz Levin.

According to a statement released by Nanoco on 3 February, the settlement includes a ‘global, perpetual, fully paid up licence agreement’ and the transfer of a number of 'non-core’ patents from Nanoco to Samsung; it also ends all global litigation with Samsung, which was advised by Kirkland and Gillam & Smith. 

Nanoco CEO Brian Tenner said: "Today marks the start of a new chapter for Nanoco. We have successfully validated our core IP against one of the world's biggest electronics companies, who were advised by one of the most expensive law firms in the world. Others operating in our space should take note.”

The Mintz team, which acted as Nanoco's lead legal advisers and co-ordinated actions in overseas jurisdictions, was led by Boston-based partner Michael Newman with Dallas-based specialist IP trial firm Caldwell Cassady & Curry making up the trial team with support from local counsel Ward Smith & Hill, which is based in Longview.

Nanoco had alleged that Samsung’s QLED televisions infringed several of its patents related to the synthesis and use of quantum dots.

Just days before the start of the patent infringement trial in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the parties agreed on 6 January to stay the proceedings to finalise a settlement agreement. 

Private investment firm GLS Capital helped fund the litigation. In a statement, it said that The Nanoco v Samsung dispute also included the successful defence of five inter parties review petitions at the US Patent and Trademark Office, in which all challenged patent claims were upheld as valid. There were also related proceedings at the German and Chinese intellectual property offices.

GLS Capital’s CEO Adam Gill added: “Nanoco is a true pioneer in its field. Its foundational technology allows quantum dots to be made without the use of toxic heavy metals like cadmium, enabling displays like Samsung’s QLED televisions.”

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