Group Charged with Selling Samsung IP
Nine people and two companies have been indicted by South Korean authorities charged with selling Samsung’s curved-edge OLED display tech, used in Samsung’s flagship Galaxy phones, to a Chinese company.
Prosecutors have charged the CEO and eight employees of supplier Toptec Co Ltd for selling information regarding Samsung’s OLED technology to an undisclosed Chinese company.
Allegedly those indicted received approximately US$13.8 million after conspiring with two representatives of the Chinese company to sell the protected IP.
Names of companies and individuals involved in the case were not revealed.
Toptec has denied any knowledge or wrongdoing, saying in a statement to Reuters “Our company has never provided Samsung Display’s industrial technology or business secrets to a Chinese client. Our company will fully cooperate with legal proceedings to find the truth in court.”
The accused group supposedly set up a shell company — headed by the CEO’s sister-in-law — that received documents related to display panels from Samsung Display, a Samsung Subsidiary, and sold the “3D lamination” technology violating a non-disclosure agreement with Samsung.
Apparently, the group were discovered when additional items were loaded onto a ship headed for mainland China.
Prosecutors assert it took Samsung six years, 38 engineers, and 150 billion won (US$134 million) to develop the high-value intellectual property.
South Korea and China are currently locked in a “technological rivalry”, with South Korea enjoying a narrowing lead, in no small part thanks to Samsung and its OLED, flexible display, and memory chip technology.
Samsung Display told Bloomberg in a statement it was “shocked at the results of the investigation by prosecutors, at a time when competitors are intensifying their technological rivalry.”