Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Man jailed for 3 years for leaking Samsung’s edge panel tech to China

The top court on Thursday finalised a three-year prison term for a former head of a mid-size technology firm for leaking Samsung Display’s edge panel technology to Chinese companies in 2018.

The edge panel technology, also known as 3D lamination technology, is used for making curved screen edges for Samsung smartphones. It took Samsung around $117.7 million in investment and six years of research by 38 engineers to develop the technology, reports Yonhap news agency.

A former CEO and officials of Toptec Co., a mid-size firm specializing in production equipment, were indicted on charges of leaking in April 2018 technical specifications and technical drawings of the edge panel technology they got from Samsung to a separate company they established. They then sold part of the documents to two Chinese companies.

They were also charged with producing 24 units of 3D lamination production equipment based on technical drawings provided by Samsung, exporting 16 of them to Chinese firms and attempting to sell the rest as well.

A district court had initially found the former Toptec CEO and officials not guilty, concluding the leaked technology is not a business secret.

An appellate court, however, overturned the ruling and sentenced the ex-CEO to three years in prison, reasoning that the technology is part of what the trade ministry classified as frontier technologies and thus cannot be deemed to be in the public domain.

The appeals court also concluded the defendants breached their duty not to leak business secrets.

The Supreme Court upheld a three-year imprisonment for the former Toptec CEO. Two other Toptec executives were also given a finalized two-year prison term, while the company was given a fine of 100 million won.



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