On January 31, 2014, Queen's University and Parteq Innovations, Queen's technology commercialization arm, filed a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics, Co. Ltd and Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC for patent infringement. With this action, Queen's is protecting the rights of its faculty and students and the groundbreaking discoveries that result from their research.
The infringement concerns patents on Attentive User Interface technologies. The university first applied for patent protection for this technology in March 2003, based on research conducted by Prof. Roel Vertegaal and graduate students at the Human Media Laboratory in Queen's School of Computing.
While Queen's supports the open source community, and publishes much of its research as publications and software for anyone to use, it is common for universities to receive patents to protect key inventions. Queen's protection of intellectual property is critical to fulfilling its mission of creating and disseminating knowledge by encouraging faculty, staff and students to produce cutting edge research results. It enables Queen's, the Canadian public, as well as its commercial partners, to obtain returns on their significant investments. These returns come in the form of the creation of knowledge, education, companies, industries and jobs for Canadians, and are used to support future cutting edge work that benefits all Canadians. Thus Queen's ability to conduct its research depends in part on the protections afforded by the patent system. This system promotes the progress of science by enabling public disclosure of inventions while maintaining the exclusive right to allow faculty, staff and students to create a return on investment, for a limited and set time.
Queen's University offered Samsung the opportunity to license the technology to create such return on investment. Samsung chose not to do so, and therefore it has no right to use our intellectual property.