Samsung increases spending on lobbyists within the US
Samsung Electronics has doubled mobile phone sales in the US since 2008. As the company faces anti-dumping measures and a protracted court battle with Apple, its US lobbying bill is growing even faster.
Samsung boosted spending on lobbyists to $US900,000 ($880,000) last year from $US150,000 in 2011 as it tries to influence the federal government on issues ranging from intellectual property infringement to telecommunications infrastructure, regulatory filings show.
The company also hired Sony Corporation veteran Joel Wiginton to run a new government-relations office in Washington.
The higher spending comes as the South Korean company is embroiled in patent disputes with Apple on four continents as the two struggle for dominance in an industry expected to double to $US847 billion in sales by 2016. In a US lawsuit, Apple was initially awarded $US1 billion in damages after a jury decided Samsung copied the iPhone maker's designs for mobile devices.
"Samsung is being sued left and right," said R. Polk Wagner, a professor of intellectual property law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. "A major component of their business is smartphones, and this is becoming a very litigious area."
In a statement, Samsung said the expanded effort is "a prudent step as part of day-to-day business operations, our growing presence outside of our headquarters country, and our commitment to transparency". The company declined to comment further on its lobbying expenditures.
Samsung's increased spending is small compared with some rivals, though it is growing faster than many. Apple spent $US2 million on US lobbying last year, down 13 per cent from 2011, and Sony spent $US3.3 million, a decrease of 10 per cent, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics, a Washington group that tracks lobbying.
The greater focus on lobbying by technology companies reflects the growing importance of US laws and regulations to the industry, said Mark Lemley, who teaches patent law at Stanford Law School.