South Korean prosecutors have indicted a group that allegedly leaked Samsung's technology in OLED edge panels to China.
Samsung reportedly spent 150 billion won or US$135 million in a span of six years just to flawless the technology that enables it to accurately attach OLED panels to curved smartphone cover glasses. Three people out of the 11 have been arrested by the authorities and are now awaiting the trial process.
In a statement, Samsung Display said it was "shocked at the results of the investigation by prosecutors, at a time when competitors are intensifying their technological rivalry", adding that it would keep a close eye on the trial. Some of the leaked data was then allegedly sold to the Chinese companies for 15.5 billion won, which works out to about $13.8 million.
The group are accused of using a shell company, separate phones and personal email addresses to transmit the confidential information from Samsung. Still, the technology leakage that already occurred is likely to have a significant negative impact on South Korea's display industry.
Background: Samsung first commercialized curved-edge mobile OLED panels in 2014 when it released the Galaxy Note Edge which featured a single such flexible panel side. The illegal technology transfer occurred between May and August of this year. Earlier this month, Samsung unveiled a prototype for a foldable smartphone. The mainland is pouring billions into becoming self-sustaining in areas such as memory chips and displays, two fields where Samsung is the world leader. The charge was done at the Suwon District Prosecutors office.
The company denied the allegations in an official statement.