* LG Electronics expands LED patent case with Osram to
* LG says lighting products in BMW, Audi infringe seven LED
* BMW most popular imported brand in S.Korea with 24 pct of
* LG shares close up 2.5 pct vs 0.7 pct fall in broader
* BMW shares up 1.5 pct, Audi up 0.9 pct
(Adds company comment)
By Miyoung Kim
SEOUL/FRANKFURT, Sept 28 LG Electronics
filed a suit in South Korea, seeking a ban on the
sale of BMW and Audi cars, expanding its
legal battle over lighting-product patents with Siemens
(SIEGn.DE) unit Osram to automakers.
The sales injunction request filed on Wednesday by LG and
its component affiliate LG Innotek said the
automakers are using Osram's lighting products that infringe its
If the court allows LG's request, that could be a setback to
BMW, the world's largest luxury carmaker, and Audi, a unit of
Korean sales account for just around 1 percent of these
carmakers' global sales, but European models are steadily
gaining market share in Korea following a free-trade deal with
the European Union in July.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of patent litigation
involving LG Electronics, Samsung LED and Osram. The Siemens
lightbulb unit has filed suits against the South Korean firms in
the United States, Germany and Japan.
LG's sales injunction request follows a separate complaint
filed with the South Korean trade commission in July to ban
imports of LED products from Osram.
"We've decided to expand the legal case to automakers using
LED package products made by Osram, as the infringement is
increasingly affecting the fast-growing LED industry," LG said
in a statement on Wednesday.
Shares in LG closed up 2.5 percent, compared with a 0.7
percent fall in the broader market .
BMW shares were up 1.5 percent at 1043 GMT in Frankfurt,
while Audi rose 0.9 percent.
BMW'S GROWTH MARKET
BMW, the most popular imported brand in Korea, raised its
market share sharply in the country as Japanese rivals lost
ground following the earthquake there in March.
BMW sold 16,579 cars in the first eight months of this year,
up 62 percent from a year ago, and owns 24 percent of the
imported-car market in Korea, according to data by Korea
Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
Audi also increased sales by a quarter to 6,668 cars in the
first eight months of this year to take 9.6 percent of the
BMW in South Korea declined to comment on the lawsuit, while
a spokesman at the group's German headquarters said BMW would
have to examine in detail any possible injunction before
providing a statement.
A spokesman for Audi said the company had not received
anything from the court in South Korea so far and would have to
examine any potential injunction should it arrive.
An Osram spokesman declined to comment.
Imported cars account for less than 10 percent of South
Korea's auto market dominated by local brands such as Hyundai
Motor , but sales growth is far outstripping that of
Sales of imported cars jumped 19 percent in the first eight
months of this year, while Hyundai saw its domestic sales rise
only 8.6 percent.
LG joined Samsung LED to countersue Osram, after the German
firm said in June that it filed lawsuits against the two
Samsung LED countersued in June, filing a patent
infringement lawsuit against Osram Korea and two Korean sales
agents of the German company at a Seoul district court.
Osram is the world's No.2 lighting company after Philips
, ahead of General Electric Co .
LEDs are semiconductor devices that emit light and boast
high energy efficiency, while organic light emitting diodes
(OLED) are based on organic compounds and used in a range of
products including lighting, automobiles, projectors, mobile
phones and TVs.
Osram has claimed Samsung and LG infringed its patents on
white and surface-mountable LEDs.
It said it would seek compensation, adding various prominent
companies worldwide have taken royalty-bearing licences on its
LG said on Wednesday, products in BMW and Audi infringed
seven of its patents relating to LED chips and packaging
The Seoul Central District Court has yet to decide the first
hearing date on the LG versus Osram case.
(Additional reporting by Christiaan Hetzner in Frankfurt and
Irene Preisinger in Munich; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner, Vinu
Pilakkott and Mike Nesbit)