Two researchers at Samsung Display received jail terms on Friday for leaking the company’s technology related to organic light emitting diode (OLED).
The Suwon District Court sentenced the two researchers, a 47-year-old and a 38-year old, to two years in prison for violating South Korea’s industry technology leak prevent and protection laws.
A 47-year-old CEO of a display equipment company who received OLED technology from the two researchers, was also sentenced to a year and eight months prison term. An executive at this company as well as another CEO of an affiliate company were also sentenced to a year in prison but the sentenced was suspended for two years. The display equipment company and its affiliate received fines of 200 million won and 50 million, respectively.
The researchers was indicted on charges of leaking the specifications of an optical clear resin (OCR) inkjet laminator used to manufacture OLED by Samsung Display, from November 2019 to May 2020. The equipment is used to bond the display panel with the cover glass. Samsung Display spent 10 billion won for three years to development the technology.
The Samsung Display researchers owned second name shares of the display equipment company and planned the leak. At court, it was shown that they tried to leak the technology to China. The company made a prototype based on the leaked specifications but was unable to handover the kit due to the investigation.
The court said the researchers were fully aware that the information they leaked were trade secrets but used various methods for a long time to nullify security to leak them.
The researchers also made unconvincing claims that they written down the technology data as a hobby or lost their notepads, the court said. However, court said the researchers took part in the technology development and the leaked technology doesn’t seem to be the core technology of the trade secret.