South Korean police searched the offices of Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s display-making unit yesterday in connection with an investigation into alleged technology theft.
Samsung Display Co., which dominates the market for organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, panels, said investigators at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency went to its headquarters in Asan, south of the capital, and searched for documents related to the technology.
Police are investigating whether partners of rival panel maker LG Display Co. (034220) leaked technology secrets and whether Samsung (005930) is involved, Nathan Kim, a spokesman for Samsung, said by phone today. The two companies have been involved in criminal probes of alleged technology theft since last year. In July, six employees of LG Display were charged over theft of OLED technology from Samsung.
“We have no reason to steal other companies’ technology, as we have the world’s best OLED technology,” Jun Eun Sun, a spokeswoman for Samsung (005930), said by phone today in Asan.
LG Display said it didn’t report Samsung to police in connection with the current investigation.
“The latest investigation is related to large-sized OLED TV panel technology, but the police have made the allegation themselves,” Son Young Jun, a Seoul-based LG Display spokesman, said by phone today.
Phone calls to the police agency today seeking comment weren’t answered.
LG said in July the information its employees were charged with leaking or stealing at the time was widely known in the industry and wasn’t considered to contain trade secrets.
Samsung (005930) and LG, the world’s two biggest flat-panel display makers, are banking on new TV sets using OLED panels to boost slowing TV sales. The technology offers thinner screens, less power consumption and more vivid images than current liquid- crystal displays.
Samsung, the world’s largest TV maker, lags behind LG (034220) in introducing OLED TV sets. Samsung said Feb. 19 it aims to start selling the TVs in the first half of this year. LG Electronics Inc. (066570) began selling them in South Korea in January and said Jan. 2 it will expand sales to North America, Europe and other Asian markets in the first quarter.
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