According to a report published by Bloomberg, Samsung has increased its U.S. lobbying expenses by a factor of six i.e $900,000 last year from $150,000 in 2011, in its efforts to influence the federal government on its ongoing patent infringement lawsuits with Apple. The report also points out that the South Korean electronics giant has recently hired Sony Corp. veteran Joel Wiginton to run a new government-relations office in Washington.
Samsung’s higher spending is the result of its long standing patents battle with Apple in four continents. According to U.S. government database of lobbying disclosure filings, last year’s lobbying expenditure was the biggest for Samsung in a single year, with previous high of $370,000 in 2008. The bulk of Samsung’s U.S. lobbying money last year, $760,000, went to the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, a firm who also lobbied on behalf of AT&T Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd.
In a statement, Samsung said the expanded effort is “a prudent step as part of day-to-day business operations, our growing presence outside of our headquarters country, and our commitment to transparency.” The company declined to comment further on its lobbying expenditures.
The greater focus on lobbying by technology companies reflects the growing importance of U.S. laws and regulations to the industry as Congress considers issues from patents to Internet privacy to copyright infringement, said Mark Lemley, who teaches patent law at Stanford Law School in California.
“Apple is spending a lot of time, money and resources on lobbying, so Samsung is doing the same,” said Mark C. Newman, a senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Hong Kong.
Samsung’s U.S. handset revenue increased to $18.5 billion in 2012 from $8.9 billion in 2008.