Korean Handset Makers Bet Big On R&D

The major Korean handset makers, like Samsung and LG, have been doing quite well lately. Because of that, they’re now looking to bet big on their own R&D efforts to develop the next generation of handsets that can beat out the competition. All of the major South Korean handset makers are trying to boost their R&D staff by at least 35% this year. They’re doing so for two main reasons. First, they realize that handsets are becoming increasingly complex, and there’s an ongoing battle for which handset has the latest and greatest features. Secondly, though, they realize that there’s an intellectual property battle going on – where creators of certain handset technologies are patenting the technology, and shooting for licensing fees from others. By building up their own patent portfolio, they’re hoping to protect themselves against others (via cross-licensing deals) or to get in on some of the patent licensing money themselves. Of course, the fear always is, when patents come into play, whether or not this focus on IP protection actually can end up slowing down innovation – by making it more difficult for handset makers to provide the technology that consumers want.

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