By Lee Minji
SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korean manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. are in a patent row over technology that enables users to control their smartphones with their eyes, upping the ante between them as they both plan to release flagship devices next month, market watchers said Tuesday.
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics both incorporated eye-tracking technology in their latest flagship smartphones -- the Galaxy S4 and the Optimus G Pro -- which are set for release in April.
The feature, which Samsung Electronics calls "smart pause" and LG Electronics calls "smart video," pauses a video when a user looks away then resumes it when the user turns back to the device.
Both companies have been promoting the eye-tracking technology as one of the key user experience features of their latest flagship smartphones.
While the eye recognition technology was touted as one of the key features of the Galaxy S4 and was announced through product teasers, LG Electronics claims it already applied for the technology patent in August 2009.
The South Korean company also said it has applied for patents for other eye-recognition technologies that leaves the screen on as long as the user's glance is detected.
An LG Electronics official said the company plans to review potential patent infringements when the Samsung phone hits the market.
In response, a Samsung Electronics official denied the possibility of a patent infringement, saying the company owns the original technology and uses different methods to realize the disputed features.
The row over the eye-tracking technology is the latest in the marketing battle between the two South Korean tech giants. Earlier this month, LG Electronics unveiled a new advertisement at its Times Square advertising slot in the United States that parodied the Samsung Galaxy S4 promotion campaign.
Locally, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have also been embroiled in a marketing row measuring the size of their refrigerators.