The move opens a new front in the continuing legal spat between the South Korean companies and Osram over light-emitting-diode lighting technology, as they struggle for dominance in a fast-growing LED lighting market. LED lights, once used primarily in indicator lamps, are now installed in television screens and aviation and automotive lighting, as well as traffic signals.
"We’ve expanded the legal fight to auto makers using LED package products manufactured by Osram, as the infringed products are having an increasingly negative impact on the fast-growing local LED industry," LG Electronics said in a statement. The company asked the court to issue an interim injunction to block the sales while the case is being argued.
Osram’s Korean unit declined to comment. A spokesman for BMW said he couldn’t yet confirm that an injunction had been received, adding that the company would have to "examine the matter extensively" before it could comment. A spokesman for Volkswagen AG’s Audi brand said it hasn’t yet received an injunction.
Osram is a unit of German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG.
The lawsuit comes after Osram and an affiliate filed a complaint with the Korea trade commission against LG and Samsung Electronics Co. in August alleging that both companies infringed its patents for LED technology used in TVs and computer monitors.
Osram’s move was in response to a complaint LG had filed to the trade commission against Osram in July, seeking a ban on the importation of the company’s LED products into Korea. That in turn came after Osram initiated a similar lawsuit in June, when the German firm sued both Samsung Group and LG Group in the U.S. and Germany for infringing Osram’s patents over LED technology.
LG holds about 4,000 patents globally for LEDs, which are becoming increasingly popular as a source of light because they are small, energy-saving, have a long lifetime and emit less heat than compact fluorescent bulbs.