Executive and employees of display and battery production equipment maker Toptec have been found guilty of leaking the technologies of customer Samsung Display to Chinese competitors.
The Suwon High Court, the appeals court, overturned a ruling of not guilty from the district court on Tuesday and found 11 executives and employees guilty of intentionally stealing technologies related to an OLED surface laminator developed by Samsung Display to form the curved sides of a flexible OLED panel.
One executive received a 3-year jail sentence and two others received 2-year sentences.
A Toptec spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.
Some of the Chinese competitors that Toptec allegedly attempted to sell the equipment, which it co-developed with Samsung Display that provided the core technologies, were BOE, CSOT, Visionox, and Everdisplay.
Toptec had planned to export 36 units of the machinery to export to China, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors, when they first indicted Toptec’s employees in 2018, had said they attempted to unlawfully sell the laminator technologies that Samsung Display spend six years with 38 engineers and 150 billion won to develop.
Prosecutors said the technologies related to the case fall under the protection of South Korea’s industry technology protection act and are deemed core national technologies.
The Suwon District Court on January 2021 however found the 11 executives and employees not guilty of technology theft as it deemed the technologies to not fall under the protection of the law.