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Apple-Samsung ruling resonates hard in South Korea

Queena Kim Aug 27, 2012

Apple-Samsung ruling resonates hard in South Korea

Queena Kim Aug 27, 2012

Kai Ryssdal: The other shoe dropped in that Apple-Samsung lawsuit that was decided Friday afternoon. The one where a jury in San Jose said Samsung violated Apple’s patents to the tune of a billion-dollar penalty. Apple now wants a handful of Samsung models — eight, to be precise — pulled off shelves and banned in this country. More to come, to be sure.

You probably know plenty about Apple, about its phones and its founder and how the company’s fans feel about it. But what do you know about Samsung? And how Koreans feel about it?

Marketplace’s Queena Kim has that story.

Queena Kim: Koreans don’t necessarily feel the ruling was unfair — they just think it was “predictable.” That logic goes: if you ask jurors from Silicon Valley to decide a case involving a legendary American company — that also happens to employ a lot of people in your town — of course the jury’s going to hand the home team a victory. But that’s not all.  

Nathan McMurray: The first thing you need to understand is that in Korea, a lot of people equate Samsung with national pride.

Nathan McMurray is a corporate attorney at Badun Law, a Korean law firm in Seoul. He says, after the Korean war, the country was one poorest in the world. And so it invested heavily in family-run businesses like Samsung.

McMurray: So, the fact that we have a company that’s the biggest electronics company in the world that came out of this enviroment is really a miracle.

So the generation of Koreans, who remember the war, have a strong emotional reaction to the verdict. Hye Jung Kim is a reporter at Radio Korea in L.A., which has the largest Korean community outside of Korea. 

 Hye Jung Kim: Old people think it’s shame on Samsung.

What she means is that Samsung was “shamed.” Even at the age of 30, Kim still feels the pull of nationalism. She says Samsung must appeal — not because of the billion, but to clear its name.

Hye Jung Kim: Yeah and Korean name too, because Samsung is on behalf of Korea.
Queena Kim: You still feel a pull for Samsung and Korea?
Hye Jung Kim: Um yeah, because that’s still my country.

I’m Queena Kim for Marketplace.

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