Are NPEs (or Privateers) coming to China?

Perhaps.  according to IAM, an article published in China this week has turned up two previously unreported patent infringement suits against Samsung in the country’s courts, both filed this year. In one case, an apparent Chinese NPE is asserting a patent formerly owned by Huawei against the South Korean company. In the other, a Texas NPE is suing Samsung with a former Sisvel patent.

The real question is what that means.  There already exist very high volumes of very low stakes patent litigation in China.  That said it is not clear to me that the ROI makes sense (yet) for the EDTX-style “troll” of yore – especially given the evidentiary burdens to filing suit in China, but with the right patents and the right political situation patent assertion for monetization purposes can make a lot of sense in China.

Given that one of these NPEs that IAM is pointing to argue for a trend is using Huawei patents, I wonder whether there is not some larger plan going that is designed to set up a patent assertion system favoring Chinese national champions and if some trolls inflict collateral damage as a result, so be it.  Time will tell.