Apple and Samsung were and always will be bitter enemies, fighting over patents and phones through court cases and mocking ads. Given this history, it’s a huge surprise to hear that the South Korean company could help save iPhones from being banned in South Korea.
As reported by BusinessKorea, Apple is currently being investigated by the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy. The government body is looking into whether the company has infringed on a FinFET patent by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
iPhone Ban in South Korea
Things aren’t looking great for Apple since the authority is probably going to rule in favor of KAIST. This could result in iPhone imports not being allowed to enter South Korea. Specifically, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, 9.7-inch iPad, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro could all get banned.
The issue at hand is FinFET semiconductor technology. It’s a type of 3D transistor which allows processors to become smaller and faster. Apple uses it in its A series chips for the iPhone and iPad. For instance, the iPhone X and iPhone 8 were manufactured using the 10nm FinFET process by TSMC.
Many others use FinFET technology as well, including Samsung. The brand is currently fighting KAIST in the US and recently submitted some evidence in court to invalidate KAIST’s patents. Taking this into account, the Korean government says it’s going to keep a close eye on the case in the US.
If Samsung wins its case in the US and dismisses the patent, KAIST won’t be able to enforce the patent in South Korea either. Apple will directly benefit from Samsung’s victory, so it’s probably gunning for its rival to win. That’s pretty rare, but extreme circumstances make strange bedfellows.