Police Raid Samsung Offices Over LG Screen Probe

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Samsung offices have been raided by police investigating the alleged theft of OLED screen technology

The South Korean offices of Samsung Electronics has been raided by police, reports say, raising questions about corporate secrets and copyright theft.

The police raided the offices belonging to the display unit of Samsung, over allegations that organic LED (OLED) technology from rival firm LG Electronics had made its way into Samsung’s possession.

Screen Secrets

OLED is a display technology that is widely used in mobile phones, televisions and other devices. The technology allows for thinner, less power hungry, and more vibrant displays than current liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). Samsung dominates the OLED sector, followed closely by LG.

flexible oled displayAmid this tense competition, Samsung on Wednesday admitted to Bloomberg that investigators with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency had searched the offices of its display unit located at Samsung’s mammoth headquarters complex in Asan, south of the South Korean capital Seoul.

The police were reportedly searching for documents related to large-sized OLED TV panel technology, which allegedly may have made its way over to Samsung via partners of LG.

“We have no reason to steal other companies’ technology, as we have the world’s best OLED technology,” Jun Eun Sun, a spokeswoman for Samsung was reported as saying by Bloomberg.

LG had apparently not reported Samsung to the police, and it seems that it was the police’s own decision to raid the Samsung offices. Last July six employees of LG Display were reportedly charged over theft of OLED technology from Samsung, although LG contends that the information was widely known and wasn’t considered to contain trade secrets.

“The latest investigation is related to large-sized OLED TV panel technology, but the police have made the allegation themselves,” Son Young Jun, a Seoul-based LG Display spokesman was also quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

Red Faces?

The police raid will no doubt prove highly embarrassing for Samsung officials, but the tactic had been used before when the police raided the Korean offices of Google for example back in 2011, while investigating the WiSpy scandal.

And the issue of technology ownership has become an increasing hot potato in the past few years. Samsung of course has found itself accused of patent infringements in the past, most notably by that of bitter rival Apple over claims that it copied some of its technology for its own smartphone products.

Last August a jury in the United States ruled that Samsung had infringed on Apple patents and consequentially owed Apple $1.05 billion (£664m). On 1 March, the US judge reduced the penalty by roughly $450 million (£294m). Meanwhile a new patent infringement trial has also been scheduled as Apple presses ahead with another lawsuit against the South Korean electronics giant.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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