Samsung Intensifies Federal Government Lobbying Push

Samsung Intensifies Federal Government Lobbying Push

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Samsung has more than redoubled its lobbying efforts to influence the federal government on a range of issues, including, surprise surprise, intellectual property laws. The South Korean firm spent six times more on lobbying in 2012 than it did in 2011.



The growth in spending — from $150,000 in 2011 to $900,000 in 2012 — coincided with both increasing sales for Samsung smartphones and a ramp up in its legal struggles with Apple. Lobbying expenditures for 2012 topped the company’s previous high mark, which was $370,000 in 2008. Since then, revenues from Samsung’s U.S. mobile sales have more than doubled from $8.9 billion to $18.5 billion.

The lion’s share of Samsung’s lobbying dollars went to the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. The law firm has also worked on behalf of AT&T, Lenovo, and Google. The remainder of the funds went to Samsung Information Systems America ($120,000), and another $20,000 went to the firm Aerman, Senterfitt & Eidson.

Samsung’s ongoing legal struggle with Apple over patent infringements most likely make up a large part of Samsung’s reasoning for the increase in spending. Samsung lost a $1.05 billion jury verdict to Apple last year, although a portion of that was recently vacated by a federal judge.

The South Korean firm’s lobbying efforts also touch on many other aspects of the company’s businesses. Whirlpool has accused Samsung of dumping its washing machines in the U.S., and Samsung’s chip facility in Austin, Texas must pass regulatory inspection. The company also has intellectual property of its own to defend, having been awarded more than 5,000 patents in the U.S. since 2006.

Samsung’s lobbying expenditures are not unusual in the technology field, in fact their total can be considered rather low as Apple spent $2 million last year, while Google spent $18.22 million in 2012.

Samsung in a statement said the increased spending was “a prudent step as part of day-to-day business operations, our growing presence outside of our headquarters country, and our commitment to transparency.”