Group Charged with Selling Samsung IP

Ruben Fields
December 3, 2018

South Korean prosecutors have indicted nine people on suspicion of selling Samsung technology to a Chinese company without authorisation.

However, we do know that the components being sold were related to "3D lamination", which could include flexible OLED display panels and adhesive that are used for the production of Samsung's Infinity Flex Display. That company then sold the tech secrets to the Chinese firms for almost $14 million, according to the prosecutors.

Prosecutors saidSamsung invested six years and some 150 billion won ($130 million) to develop the bendable screen.

Samsung has said that they have arrested three employees and is working with the authorities to arrest and charge the remaining employees as well.

In a statement, Samsung Display said it was "shocked at the results of the investigation by prosecutors, at a time when competitors are intensifying their technological rivalry", adding that it would keep a close eye on the trial.

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A South Korean supplier sold 16-panel processing equipment to Chinese companies and assisted China in acquiring the technology, while eight other such units are on sale.

The information on when exactly did the defendants allegedly transfer the stolen schematics to China has yet to be disclosed, though the prosecutors did accuse them of using burn phones, fake names, and personal email addresses in order to attempt avoiding leaving official records of their transgressions. Samsung says the technology that was leaked was a "national core technology".

Background: Samsung first commercialized curved-edge mobile OLED panels in 2014 when it released the Galaxy Note Edge which featured a single such flexible panel side.

Toptec has grown fast by supplying a large amount of 3D lamination equipment to Samsung Display.

Reuters, which named the accused company as Toptec, reported that the business has denied any wrongdoing.

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