The rift between Samsung and LG Electronics has deepened over damaged washing machines and the leakage of OLED technology.
Since this incident involves the two companies' core affiliates in charge of their electronics and display businesses, their corporate pride is on the line. In the end, controversy over damaged washing machines had to be settled by a court case.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office announced on Feb. 15 that it brought a charge against Jo Seong-jin, president of LG Electronics' home appliance division, for the damage of Samsung's washing machines, slander, and obstruction of work. Jo Han-jin, an LG senior executive, was also indicted for vandalizing washing machines.
The two LG executives were indicted on charges of damaging the hinges connecting the door and the body of Samsung Crystal Blue washing machines at Saturn's flagship store in the Europa Center and a retail store in Steglitz, Germany. The incident occurred during the IFA 2014, which was held in Berlin, Germany from Sept. 5 to 10.
An official at the Prosecutor's Office said, “The two LG associates indeed damaged Samsung's washing machines at two electronics stores in Berlin.”
Meanwhile, three Samsung employees were cleared of suspicion that they deliberately fabricated evidence by applying some pressure to the washing machines in question. LG filed a complaint against them in December of last year.
Samsung and LG Display are also at odds with each other over the results of an investigation concerning the leakage of OLED technology.
The Suwon District Public Prosecutor's Office indicted five officials at Samsung Display on Feb. 13 for the violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act. Related to this incident, a representative of LG Display said, “Samsung Display obtained our business secrets in an organized and immoral manner on the pretext of purchasing equipment.”
The official noted, “Samsung Display claimed that LG Display, led by six senior officials, stole its OLED technology in 2012. However, five associates and LG Display itself were acquitted in the end.”
The associate at LG Display added, “Rather, Samsung was indicted on Feb. 13 for stealing our technology to make large OLED panels starting in 2010 by approaching our partner company and giving an empty promise for equipment purchases.”
“Mr. Kim at LG Display was fined on Feb. 6 for obtaining related information on rival companies' business secrets in an illegal way,” said Samsung Display in a statement, adding, “LG's claim that it is innocent is tantamount to denying the legal system of the country.”
“It is unfortunate that a somewhat extreme standard was applied to business activities between corporations. The technology in question is already well-known in the industry. So, there is no reason for us to obtain the technology illegally,” read a Samsung Display statement related to the indictment of five employees at Samsung Display on Feb. 13.