SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - After being questioned for the second time on alleged bribery of South Korean prosecutors and judges, Samsung group chairman Lee Kun-hee has stated that he, as well as others, would consider resigning to revamp the management group, according to reports.
An independent counsel appointed by South Korea's National Assembly began a probe in January to investigate the charges. It has until April 23 to investigate and collect evidence.
In November 2007, a former lawyer for Samsung claimed that the conglomerate had $205 million in a slush fund used to bribe prosecutors and judges. The same lawyer also alleged that Lee’s wife, who heads a Samsung sponsored art museum, used some of the money to buy expensive paintings from abroad.
Investigators are also reportedly looking into allegations accusing the company ownership structure of conducting questionable transactions between subsidiaries to help the company’s controlling families to evade taxes and transfer wealth to heirs.
While Samsung has denied all allegations, Lee said, “I will deeply think about reshuffling the corporate management structure and the management lineup, including myself.” Lee also reportedly said that would assume blame for the scandal and would "take full responsibility, either morally or legally."
The caveat here is that the company has reportedly said that Lee's statements were provisional, and that his actions will depend upon whether the investigation uncovers any wrongdoing.
“His comment does not mean that the chairman himself or top management will step down. Rather, it means that if the special prosecution concludes that there are problems, we will make necessary improvements,” said the management group.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate is expected to debate the patent reform bill as early as this week. This comes on the heels of a court decision to block new rules the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office proposed to deal with the surge of applications.
Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid is expected to bring the Patent Reform Act to the Senate between now and the end of May.
The Senate bill is in line with the House of Representatives bill that passed in the fall. Both bills aim to limit damages and excessive litigation, namely courts that are quick to set trial dates for patent suits. The legislation also requests the U.S. to move to a first-to-file policy.
Many large electronics firms are on board, claiming to be barraged with patent infringement litigation. Individual inventors and pharmaceutical companies have rallied against the measure, saying it would weaken the system that protects their innovations.
In its fiscal year 2007, the USPTO received more than 467,000 patent applications and ended the year with a backlog of 760,000 applications. In an effort to catch up, the office hired more than 2,400 new patent examiners in the past two years, say published reports.