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Industrial espionage: Former Samsung researcher arrested for selling AMOLED tech to rival firm

April 7, 2012
Samsung AMOLED tv

Ok, so maybe this story won’t make it into the script of the next James Bond movie, but it does go to point out that the IT industry is not based entirely on honesty and trust. So here it goes: according to the South Korean police, 11 people were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of leaking AMOLED technology from Samsung Mobile Display to a local competitor.

According to the police spokesperson, a 46-year-old former employee of Samsung Mobile Display leaked key information on the “small mask scanning” technology, for the sum of roughly US $170,000. As this technology is of key importance in producing large AMOLED displays for television sets (please bear in mind that AMOLED panels are, for now, mostly restricted to devices such as smartphones and small tablets, so this new tech is obviously “a big deal”), it does make sense for the information to be this expensive.

The story is simple in essence: the former Samsung Mobile Display researcher exchanged the secret info after moving to a rival Korean company back in November 2011, but when denied an executive position at his new firm, he also attempted to sell the info to a Chinese display maker (a shady fellow as I’m sure you’ll agree). As it stands, Samsung is the only company in the world capable of mass producing AMOLED displays, that’s how far ahead in the game they are. Considering the fact that Samsung has invested billions in AMOLED research, rival company officials surely believed that they’ve made a very profitable deal. That’s of course, until they were caught by the police.

10 other people involved in the transaction were also arrested. As reported, all suspects work (or have worked) either for Samsung Mobile Display or the rival firm (LG?) that attempted to buy the new tech info.