Prosecutors raid LG Display
Investigators raided the headquarters of LG Display in central Seoul over the company’s alleged technology theft from rival Samsung Mobile Display (SMD), prosecutors said Thursday.
The raid, which took place on April 26, came amid escalating tensions between the two display giants over claims of leaked key technology to manufacture large-sized organic light emitting diode (OLED) screens.
Prosecutors at the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office in Gyeonggi Province said they made the raid to secure evidence showing the LG affiliate systematically attempted to steal technology from its competitor.
LG officials said they couldn’t comment on what the investigators searched for because the investigation is ongoing.
The prosecution indicted a former SMD researcher, identified as Cho, Wednesday on charges of leaking Samsung’s technology to LG.
Cho is one of a dozen of former and incumbent SMD researchers and LG Display executives who have been booked for the technology theft since mid-April.
He had allegedly tried to get a top-ranking position at LG Display and 190 million won ($168,000) in return for handing over the technology, called small mask scanning necessary in producing large-sized OLED televisions, through a consulting firm he set up after retiring from the Samsung affiliate last year.
The researcher also allegedly tried to sell the technology to a Chinese company after failing to land a job at LG Display.
As LG Display’s incumbent personnel manager was booked, SMD claimed its rival systematically lured their workers in an attempt to obtain its technology.
SMD claims the damages the firm will incur could reach 30 trillion won for the next five years considering the OLED market share Samsung has.
But LG Display has maintained that it has different OLED solutions from Samsung and doesn’t need information on its rival’s technology. It said it would take a legal action against Samsung for defamation.
LG Display officials said they sent SMD a letter last month to protest the latter’s alleged spreading of false rumors.
The letter said SMD has spread false rumors that LG Display executives systemically led technology theft and lured key researchers from Samsung, and thus it has damaged reputation of LG Display and its executives.
“If SMD keeps claiming a legitimate movement of display experts as an attempt to steal technology, we may have to seek legal action. We demand SMD make an apology and promise not to repeat the claim,” the letter said.
Regarding the letter, SMD officials said it is not worth responding to. They said the prosecution’s investigation and court rulings will reveal the truth. SMD also demanded LG Display apologize for the technology theft attempt last month.