Samsung’s Flexible Screen Technology was Stolen by Chinese Group?
With the launch next year of Samsung Galaxy S10 with a curved display, combined with the first folding smartphone to house the Infinity Flex display, it is clear that Samsung is aiming a lot on this new feature.
One of the next steps in the smartphone industry and something that has been messing with the big manufacturers is the long-awaited foldable smartphone. The biggest companies in the industry are already at full steam developing their devices with this technology that we still do not know very well how it will work and will not even fall into the taste of consumers.
Be that as it may, there is a fierce competition in the market to create the best and most competitive smartphone with flexible display, and in this way industrial espionage can be a danger – imagine all the effort and money spent on developing a technology to be wasted since everything that you’ve created has been in the hands of a competitor.
For this is what may have happened with Samsung, which accuses a Chinese company of having taken over crucial information about the company’s flexible OLED screens.
According to the Reuters news agency, Samsung is accusing nine executives, including the CEO of a Chinese screen manufacturer, of setting up a ghost company and using it to sell information about equipment that is used in factories and OLED panels of the South Korean company’s future flexible smartphones.
The Chinese factory, called Toptec, is one of the suppliers of parts for Samsung. The company’s CEO would also have used that ghost company to produce important components of foldable screens in a separate factory before selling the technology to a Chinese screen maker between May and August for about $13.8 million.
Besides, South Korean prosecutors said they had indicted nine people on suspicion of leaking a flexible-display technology from Samsung Electronics to the Chinese company. The Suwon District Attorney’s Office accuses the chief executive and eight employees of supplier Toptec for selling information this year about Samsung’s organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.
The components that had been misplaced were part of a “three-dimensional lamination” technology, which is present in items such as flexible OLED panels, shock absorbing films and flexible adhesives that are used to create Samsung’s Infinity Flex Display.
Toptec, which produces automated mobile panel displays, has dismissed the charges. The discovery has made Toptec’s shares fall 20 points, even as the company denied having a stake in what happened.
“Our company has never provided Samsung Display’s industrial technology or business secrets to a Chinese client. Our company will fully cooperate with legal proceedings to find the truth in court,” Toptec said in a statement.
South Korea on a rampage
For South Korea, theft of intellectual property is a sensitive issue of national importance, especially in its intent to maintain a sort of technological narrowing towards China.
In an official note, Samsung Display said it was “shocked about the results of prosecutors’ investigation, at a time like this when competitors are stepping up their technology rivalry,” pointing out that it would follow the question of the process closely.
Prosecutors say that Samsung Display invested 150 billion won in six years and a team of 38 engineers to develop the technology cast from 3D lamination, which they said was a “fundamental national technology.”
Trade secrets are very sought after, as companies seek to gain an advantage over their rivals, and it is more profitable to pay a few million dollars in bribes to have access to a technology in a matter of months instead of investing a large amount of money, years of resources and money to get access to this technology.
Samsung introduced the flexible smartphone screen earlier this month. At first, glance, when it’s closed, the Infinity Flex Display is similar to the one used on a traditional smartphone. It is because the foldable part of the screen is only in the center of the device, which starts to take an extended view when it is opened.