Corporate espionage is something that companies all over the world have to deal with. The latest major manufacturer to deal with the ramifications of corporate espionage is Samsung, as nine people have been indicted in South Korea for stealing Samsung's folding display trade secrets and selling them to China. Samsung showed off this folding display tech when it unveiled the folding Galaxy smartphone earlier this month. That smartphone is tipped to sell for as much as $2,500 and be limited in availability.
While the people who sold the data can be brought to justice, there is no putting the genie back in the bottle, and the fear is that the stolen tech might end up in smartphones from Chinese OEMs like Huawei or Xiaomi. Huawei is racing against Samsung to get folding screen smartphones to market. Huawei is rumored to be bringing its folding screen smartphone to MWC 2019 in February with a launch rumored for March.
The people charged in the corporate espionage scheme include the CEO and eight employees of supplier Toptec Co. Ltd.; these people stand accused of selling information earlier this year relating to Samsung OLED panels. The prosecutors in the case have said the group is charged with forming a separate shell company that received information on the use of equipment and drawings of panels obtained from Samsung Display.
The documents were sold to China for 15.5 billion won, which is about $13.85 million. Toptec has denied the charges and stated that it had never provided Samsung Display's industrial tech or business secrets to China. Toptec has vowed to cooperate fully in the legal proceedings. Samsung says that the incident will push it to increase security around its tech secrets.