|Seen are the front pages of Naver's mobile app, left, and the online shopping mall app of SSG.COM. / Korea Times file|
By Baek Byung-yeul
Naver is considering taking legal action against SSG.COM, the online shopping mall of Shinsegae Group, over the latter's alleged infringement of the former's design patent of its mobile app, the internet company said Tuesday.
The country's largest portal site operator said SSG.COM violated the design patent for the "green dot" interactive search button on its mobile app.
When touching the green button on the front page, the mobile app opens a small semicircular window that offers various features such as QR code payment, artificial-intelligence (AI) camera, music recognition, voice recognition and recommendations for restaurants and popular places near the user.
After undergoing testing for about six months, Naver officially introduced the green dot interactive search button on its mobile app in April. SSG.COM recently rolled out a renovated version of its mobile shopping app and Naver claimed it will be hard for users to find much of a difference between the two designs.
Noting that the green dot interactive search button for its mobile app is its own patented design, Naver said it is considering taking all necessary measures including legal action to protect its intellectual property if SSG.COM refuses to change its mobile app.
"We patented our green dot interactive search button with the Korean Intellectual Property Office and we think SSG.COM has infringed on our patent," a Naver official said.
Naver said it is hard to tell the differences between its mobile app and that of SSG.COM other than the color scheme.
"Currently we are considering this issue from all angles. We have not decided the next course of action yet but we are considering taking all necessary measures including legal action," the official said.
In response, SSG.COM said it didn't violate the design patent of Naver saying the design can be seen in many other apps.
"We adopted the spinning wheel-style interface to offer various services of ours to users more conveniently. It is arguable whether or not Naver's green dot design is inventive," an SSG.COM official said. "When searching mobile apps on app store, there are many kinds of apps that have spinning-wheel interfaces."
Naver's mobile app is one of the most frequently used apps here with more than 30 million daily users, according to the company.
To provide a smarter and more integrated web search environment for users, Naver announced in October 2018 that it would use the green dot interactive search button for its mobile app. After undergoing beta testing for about six months, the company introduced the new search button in April.