Samsung, LG lock horns over washer damage, tech leak

Samsung, LG lock horns over washer damage, tech leak

The crosstown rivals have often locked horns over patent issues and PR campaigns, including ads degrading one another’s products. This time they have clashed over an alleged act of sabotage by LG against Samsung’s new washers.

Over the weekend, LG’s appliance chief Jo Seung-jin was indicted by local prosecutors for tampering with Samsung’s $2,000 high-end washing machines at a Berlin shop in September.

Samsung filed a lawsuit accusing Jo and two LG executives of property damage and obstruction of business, claiming they had intended to damage its appliance.

But LG, which has denied the allegation, countersued Samsung for defamation and forging evidence.

On Monday, their skirmish escalated when LG took the fight to YouTube.

In a press release signed by Jo, LG revealed it uploaded a nearly nine-minute video clip of edited footage from surveillance cameras, purportedly backing up its claim that the executive was not damaging the appliance, but rather “testing” it for sturdiness.

“It is questionable whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that the president of a global company deliberately destroyed the machines (at a location) where employees of the competing company were present,” Ham Yoon-keun, a lawyer defending Jo in court, said in a statement provided by LG. “The truth will be revealed in court.”

Samsung responded to the new claims via its official blog on Tuesday, saying the LG video was “arbitrarily edited”.

“A man of strong physique, Jo pressed down on the machine’s door three times and that cannot be seen as testing the rival’s product,” the company said. “The prosecution indicted LG executives after examining the entire video, not the edited version. We hope the truth will be revealed in court.”

Before the indictment of LG executives, the prosecution proposed the two companies reach an agreement, but the talks failed. Industry watchers predict no immediate resolution of the dispute.

“Amid Samsung’s dominant position in the mobile device market, the home appliance sector is where the two companies still compete fiercely. Neither company is expected to make a compromise,” said a source who declined to be named. “But consumers are already feeling fatigue about the long-running disputes, which is a lose-lose situation for both companies.”

Separately several Samsung Display employees were indicted last week on charges of stealing organic light-emitting diode display panel technology from LG Display. The workers have been accused of illegally obtaining the information from an LG supplier.

“Given that this information is one of LG Display’s business secrets, Samsung’s action should be considered a theft,” LG said in a statement.

Samsung said the indictment was excessive, arguing that the technology in question was already widely known.

The latest spats between Samsung and LG include a patent dispute over 3-D TVs in 2011, competition over the capacity of their new refrigerators in 2012 and a PR campaign for their air conditioners in 2013.

Publication Date : 18-02-2015

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