Samsung Files Electric Vehicle Related Patents – Don’t Expect to See a Samsung EV

DEC 30 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 3

A whole heck of a lot of fuss has been made over the recent electric vehicle-related patent filings made by Samsung, though we’ve no clue as to why.

Samsung Battery Cells

Samsung Battery Cells

As the Wall Street Journal reports:

“Samsung Group, South Korea’s largest conglomerate, is notoriously tight-lipped about its business plans. But a series of patent filings give an inkling of its interest in one niche segment: the market for electric vehicles.”

“Samsung Electronics Co.’s patent applications in the U.S. and South Korea this year cover parts and technology that could be used in electric vehicles, though both the parent group and the company told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that it has no plans to enter that market. Still, the filings lift the curtain on ideas the conglomerate might be toying with to diversify its sources of revenue.”

“Whether the company will decide to launch electric vehicles and profit from them is still in question. It didn’t immediately have an explanation on Tuesday why it was seeking the patents. The company regularly files hundreds of technology and design patents that stretch over a number of consumer products, some of which don’t make it into commercial production.”

As most of us know, there already exists an electric vehicle with Samsung in its name: Renault-Samsung Motors SM3 Z.E.

That vehicle is actually produced by Renault and all profits go to Renault.  Samsung attempted to enter the automotive industry, but it was unsuccessful in doing so and later sold off that division to Renault.  Renault agreed to maintain the Samsung name through 2020.

So, what’s Samsung doing back in the auto industry?  The answer is simple: becoming a parts supplier.

With the automotive world increasingly turning to high-tech electronics in vehicles, Samsung needs to get in the mix.  More specifically, we see Samsung likely supplying battery-side components for plug-in vehicles.  Samsung, through its Samsung SDI division, already supplies li-ion cells to various automakers, so it seems right to assume that Samsung will branch out from there, perhaps into on-board chargers, battery control modules and so on.

What you shouldn’t expect to see is a future Samsung-branded electric vehicle.  At least not one that doesn’t bear the Renault name, too.

Samsung SDI Manufactures Several Lithium-Ion Cells, Including This 18650 One

Samsung SDI Manufactures Several Lithium-Ion Cells, Including This 18650 One

Source: Wall Street Journal

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3 Comments on "Samsung Files Electric Vehicle Related Patents – Don’t Expect to See a Samsung EV"

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Filing for Intellectual Property (IP) doesn’t mean very much anymore about what companies are planning on building. Things are pretty crazy in the IP world, especially with anything to do with electronics or computers.

Companies now simply accumulate IP for purely the legal and trade aspects of owning the IP. The idea is that if Company A has a large enough portfolio of patents and copyrights, if Company B sues them for IP infringement, then Company A will look through all of their IP for anything that Company B may be infringing upon. Then Company A counter-sues Company B with the hopes that Company B will drop their lawsuit.

Now companies go out and buy whole portfolios of IP just to have in their back pockets in order to defend themselves against possible IP lawsuits. Including lots of stuff they will never use, and even stuff that is completely unenforceable.

These days, Samsung is just as likely to be filing automotive IP just to protect them from future lawsuits from any automotive company, as they are to actually build anything for the automotive industry.

I’ve written a few weeks ago, Renault should change the Samsung brand name to Renault.

They are trying to revitalise the brand in South Korea, but it looks ever more unlikely the agreement to use the Samsung name will be extended beyond 2020. Why invest heavily into a brand image now, when you’ll have to rename it in a couple of years anyway?

http://left-lane.com/renault-change-samsung-brand-name/

Now that the “real” Samsung is entering the car parts market and will be competing them, it’s even more of a warning sign to Renault.

Oh I think Samsung has plenty of reason to patent, especially if they’ve come up with a lower cost battery process, or in a related field, decided to start selling either chargers in the cars, or consumer charging docking stations…