Queen’s sues Samsung

In conjunction with PARTEQ, the University is filing for damages following alleged theft of patent technology

The technology developed by Vertegaal was alledgedly stolen by Samsung to develop the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and Note 3.
The technology developed by Vertegaal was alledgedly stolen by Samsung to develop the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and Note 3.

Queen’s and non-for-profit patent organization PARTEQ Innovations have filed a lawsuit against Samsung for using technology developed by a Queen’s professor without permission.

Queen’s and PARTEQ are suing Samsung Electronics, Co. and Samsung Telecommunications, LLC for patent infringement. It’s not clear how much the University is seeking in damages.

The case, which was filed on Jan. 31, has been taken to a court in Marshall, Texas. The court date is to be announced.

PARTEQ Innovations was founded by Queen’s in 1987 to commercialize technology produced by Queen’s research.

Neither Queen’s University nor Samsung could comment on the lawsuit, as it’s currently in the federal court system.

The technology under dispute, an Attentive User Interface, was developed by computer science professor Roel Vertegaal and graduate students at Queen’s School of Computing.

According to a court document released by the University, Queen’s applied for patent protection for Attentive User Interface (AUI) technology in March 2003.

AUI technology tracks the eyes of a user, and allows a device to pause a video when the user looks away.

According to the document, PARTEQ and Queen’s entered into negotiations with Samsung on commercializing the technology between October 2003 and January 2004.

Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) employee Taesuh Park contacted Vertegaal on Nov. 13, 2003 about developing the AUI to sell with Samsung devices.

“SAIT was explicit about Samsung’s interest in the commercial development, marketability and application of Dr. Vertegaal’s intellectual property within Samsung’s electronics products,” the document states.

However, Queen’s and PARTEQ state that Samsung changed course later and said they weren’t interested in the project.

The company then released the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 later in 2013, which allegedly use AUI technology in their “Smart Pause” function.

“Whenever you look away, the Samsung Galaxy S4 makes sure to pause whatever you’re watching, so you don’t miss anything,” the Samsung website states.

Queen’s released an online statement explaining its decision after filing the lawsuit.

“Queen's ability to conduct its research depends in part on the protections afforded by the patent system,” it states.

Without protecting its patents, the statement said, the University can’t guarantee a return on investment to its researchers, faculty and students for the work they do.

“Queen's University offered Samsung the opportunity to license the technology to create such return on investment,” the statement read.

“Samsung chose not to do so, and therefore it has no right to use our intellectual property.”

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