Nine South Korean residents and two companies are facing legal action in the country on charges of passing sensitive Samsung technology to Chinese companies for a profit. The case involves flexible display technology that made several of Samsung’s flagship phones including the latest Note 9 extremely popular.
Among the charges leveled against the nine accused include receiving 15.5bn won for passing on the stolen technology. The company facing the heat, Toptec also happens to be an equipment manufacturer supplying to Samsung, which ensured they had access to the critical Samsung technologies.
Three people including the chief executive of the company have already been arrested in the case. The CEO is also accused of establishing a shell company headed by his sister-in-law to evade the law. That apart, the accused are known to have been using separate phones as well their own personal email addresses to keep their activities under cover.
Investigators revealed the tainted group were rounded up when they were loading a ship headed to China with the hardware used to make the curved display. The equipment too has been put together in another company in an attempt to keep their activities a secret.
Theft of Intellectual Property Rights is taken extremely seriously in South Korea as it attempts to emerge as a technology powerhouse in the world. Samsung itself is known to have invested around $150 billion won over six years to develop the critical display technology. The same has also been listed as a National Core technology, which means it is granted the highest level of protection in the country.
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Toptec put up a brave face though, denying all allegation and have assured all forms of support in the ongoing investigations. Samsung though is clearly shocked at the development. The company meanwhile is working on the S10 flagship phone for launch next spring and is expected to have the curved display feature. The company is also working on a bendable phone and will surely hope technology for the bendable displays are safe.