Thursday, March 9

LG Household & Health Care accused of stealing tattoo tech idea

LG Household & Health Care (LG H&H) Ltd has reportedly been accused of stealing idea by its home country startup, Prinker Korea. According to a report in Yonhap news agency, the South Korean startup Prinker Korea has claimed that LG Household & Health Care stole the idea of its customised tattoo printing device, called Prinker M, and created a copycat product. Prinker’s portable tattoo printers, which can print various designs on human skin by using a mobile app, are available in about 80 countries, including the United States, France and Germany.
What Prinker Korea said
Prinker has claimed that LG H&H applied for a design patent under the name of “tattoo printer” in September 2020 after the two signed a nondisclosure agreement for a potential business partnership in June 2019. The startup further claims that LG H&H’s portable temporary tattoo printer, called IMPRINTU, is very similar in terms of concept, design and size to Prinker M. “LG Household & Health Care’s portable temporary tattoo printer, set to be revealed at the Mobile World Congress this week, is another example of a large conglomerate copying the concept, technology and the idea created by a smaller startup,” Prinker said in a statement reportedly posted on its website.
What LG H&H said
LG H&H though admitted that it purchased Prinker’s products but added that it was part of a “routine market assessment” activity before entering into a new market. The company refuted Prinker’s accusations. In a statement, it said that it has neither received any materials related to Prinker’s technology nor had any type of communication — telephone conversations, emails and meetings — with the startup after signing the nondisclosure agreement in June 2019.
LG H&H also dismissed claims that the tattoo printer concept is “exclusive” to Prinker, given Hewlett-Packard Company had already patented the idea back in 1999.
“LG H&H has been careful to avoid patents already existing in the market since the early development stages of IMPRINTU. We are a runner-up in the market and have been working with companies such as LG Electronics, HP and others since 2019,” the company said.
Loreal investment in Prinker
Earlier this year, French cosmetics giant Loreal invested in Prinker. The company, however, did not give any details on the value of the investment. Barbara Lavernos, Deputy CEO in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology at L’Oréal, explains, “At L’Oréal, our researchers are partnering with high end technology start-ups to create the future of beauty. Together, by combining our expertises, we develop unmet personalised consumer experiences. Through this strategic investment, we can fulfill our deep commitment to bringing breakthrough beauty technologies that truly empower boundless personalisation and self-expression into the hands of every person.”

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