April 10, 2013
LG OLED Patent Theft Results In Police Search Of Samsung Offices
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
LG and Samsung compete against one another on multiple battlefields, including smartphones and televisions. Last summer, the two companies got in a legal dispute over some trade secrets about OLED technology and senior engineers who moved from one company to the other. Six LG employees were charged in July with stealing some of this technology from Samsung.In an extension of this investigation into alleged technology theft, South Korean police entered the offices of Samsung Display Co. yesterday, searching for pertinent documents relating to this leaked technology, according to Bloomberg.
Both companies have shown off televisions with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. Samsung currently dominates this market, providing a majority of the world´s OLED displays, yet they´ve fallen behind in producing the large OLED panels used in television.
It´s already been discovered that there was some sort of leak of information between the two companies; the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency is now working to uncover which parties played which role in the leak.
A Samsung spokesperson at the Asan headquarters told Bloomberg that the company has a clear conscious about their OLED dominance.
“We have no reason to steal other companies´ technology, as we have the world´s best OLED technology,” Jun Eun Sun said yesterday.
An LG spokesperson told Bloomberg the police are particularly interested in large OLED panels and have launched this investigation on their own, without any external prodding.
These two companies have been working to get their respective new OLED TVs out to jump start slowing television sales. Both companies showed off their respective OLED TVs at this year´s CES in Las Vegas, Nevada. These panels are great for televisions, as they deliver bright and clear colors in a thinner frame, all while using less power than existing LCD displays.
Just because something is shown off at CES, however, doesn´t mean it will ever make it to market. Samsung, for instance, first showed off an OLED TV during CES 2012. The company returned a year later with the same technology, though it has yet to announce when these televisions will be available.
LG is winning in this regard. South Korean customers can already buy one of these televisions and the company has said it plans to ship TVs to the US by the second half of this year, reported The Verge.
Last summer, the two launched legal actions against one another, both wielding their own set of patents referring to OLED technology of all sizes. At the time, Samsung was claiming LG was actively pursuing former employees to get access to these patents and trade secrets. According to Samsung, LG then made these patents and secrets publicly available. All told, 11 current and former Samsung employees were indicted for leaking this information to LG headquarters; six were charged.
Adding insult to injury, LG claimed that the knowledge they gained from these Samsung employees was old hat and “widely known in the industry.” LG continues to claim that they use their own technology in their products and do not need any help from Samsung.