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Toshiba sues S Korean rival for corporate spying

22 Comments

Toshiba has slapped South Korean rival SK Hynix with a lawsuit seeking damages claiming that it received sensitive trade secrets from a Japanese engineer.

The civil suit, which Toshiba announced late Thursday, came as Japanese police took 52-year-old Yoshitaka Sugita into custody for allegedly copying sensitive research data for Toshiba's NAND-type flash memory and then handing it to its rival.

Sugita had formerly worked for Toshiba partner SanDisk which helps make the key technology -- used in smartphones and digital cameras -- and later passed it to his new employer Hynix.

He no longer works for the South Korean firm.

"Toshiba filed the suit on learning that a former employee of SK Hynix has been arrested in Japan for alleged criminal infringement of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act," it said in a statement.

Toshiba did not specify how much it was seeking in damages.

"The employee is alleged to have illegally taken Toshiba's proprietary technical information in 2008, and to have subsequently provided it to SK Hynix."

The Japanese company added that it is a business partner of the South Korean firm.

"However, the companies are also competitors in NAND flash memory, one of Toshiba's core technologies, and given the scope and importance of the misappropriated technical data involved, Toshiba has no reasonable option other than to seek legal redress," it said.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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S. Korean techs is full of thieves stealing trade secrets to get ahead. Apple is one example. They should get their head together get that crazy brother up North and stop complaining of their incompetence.

6 ( +10 / -5 )

I hope Toshiba go after the other party with a vengeance. Billions!! Certain countries that don't respect IP need to be given a rude awakening. I really hope the guilty party in this case is sued into bankruptcy.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Why would HYNIX allegedly steal from a company with technologically inferior NAND Flash chips, which it has cross license agreement with? That would be like saying Apple stole technology from Huwei. Laughable because Japan still thinks they're the greatest.

-19 ( +3 / -21 )

Love the ignorance some posters shows.

NAND memory technology was first developed BY TOSHIBA in 1989.

7 ( +10 / -4 )

@chucky3176. You should do more research before you comment. Toshiba was the top NAND researcher back in 2008 and most likely due to the stolen research Hynx pulled ahead. Korean Semiconductor mfg would not be where they are today without Japanese help and technology. Now because of industrial spys and traitors companys in Japan especially Toshiba have increased their security.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

SamuraiBlue and Beer4me, NAND and NOR was invented by Dr. Fujio Masuoka while working for Toshiba circa 1980. Not like you said Develop by Toshiba.

that is one thing i hate about Japanese, they love to take credit for someone else success that's why they feel so proud to say I AM JAPANESE!, because if they try to think about the own accomplishment they discover they have not accomplish nothing on they life. Flash memory development kind are Samsung, Intel and Micron these days, Toshiba have not do anything with the Technology after the invention of Dr. Masuoka.

Intel Corporation saw the massive potential of the invention and introduced the first commercial NOR type flash chip in 1988.[5] NOR-based flash has long erase and write times, but provides full address and data buses, allowing random access to any memory location. This makes it a suitable replacement for older read-only memory (ROM) chips, which are used to store program code that rarely needs to be updated, such as a computer's BIOS or the firmware of set-top boxes. Its endurance may be from as little as 100 erase cycles for an on-chip flash memory,[6] to a more typical 10,000 or 100,000 erase cycles, up to 1,000,000 erase cycles.[7] NOR-based flash was the basis of early flash-based removable media; CompactFlash was originally based on it, though later cards moved to less expensive NAND flash.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

The_True

Talk about meaningless nitpicking. If and when Dr. Masuoka was under the payroll of Toshiba and was doing research within Toshiba facilities then the patent would be under Toshiba's name along with Dr. Masuoka. As for feeling good factor, Dr. Masuoka is Japanese so it really doesn't matter.

5 ( +8 / -4 )

The Americans first invented the automobile. So is that mean Japanese can't possibly make better cars than the Americans?

This is silly and childish. HYNIX and Toshiba in 2007 had a cross licensing deal which basically says both countries can use each other's technology without any problems. Why is Toshiba all of a sudden, turns this into a problem? Because the NAND flash isn't the only threat Japan feels from S.Korea. Japanese media are crying and convinced that Japan's industries have been all stolen by Korean companies. The xenophobic writings in the media all coincide with Japan's right wing lurch - effecting everything from politics to even policies on Korean dramas on TV. Japan's answer to their mounting problems not to compete, but to isolate themselves further and paint their rivals as evil conspirators.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

Dr. Masuoka is Japanese so it really doesn't matter.

that is my point!

so dont try to leech out his success, you don't have any other than been a japanese salaymen.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The_True

Oh brother, have you ever heard a thing called "Team Effort"?

Most all newly developed technology in the modern era are not a brain child of a single person but is built upon a various personnel working for the same goal.

Dr. Masuoka would not have made it on his own without Toshiba's resources.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The-true, but that's how all companies work in any country. I don't like it either, but anything the employee does is the company's. I guess that's their perk for hiring him and giving him stable employment.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@chucky: USA made car first. Japanese custom is creare new type (not copying). That is why Japan Inc was never sued by APPLE. Honda create its cars by changing motorcycle to the car without copying GM/Ford. Toyota. Mr. Toyoda was making a car as his hobby. Mitsui people found and Mitsui proposed to acquire. MitsuiToyoda cars, mitsui decided to let it go alone because Mitsui liked to have its car wholesale business better. So, MitsuiToyoda became Toyota. No copycatting. Then Toyota became better seller of their cars than Honda. These Japanese automakers has never been sued for copyright or patent infringement. Sony used to create new memory card differently. Sony new product and market division, /We hated to handle floppy and Sony created 3 & 1.4'. Innovation, Toshiba etc do and Copying Korean do. ATM cards is flat card now, Japan Inc even boss International Standardization Organizations. By retired Japan Inc brains

3 ( +5 / -2 )

toshiko, I almost spilled my coffee reading your claim Japan never copied anybody. That is some hutzbuh to make that kind of blatantly false claim. With all that Japan innovation, why aren't they doing better? Sony, Sharp, Panasonic, all in poor shape. After all, superior technology always comes out on top over the cheap copies, right? Like I said, both Hynix and Toshiba had a cross licensing deal on their technology in 2007, a full year before the alleged theft. What technology has Hynix is accused of stealing? And what proof is there that alleged theft was used to make NAND chips? The leader in the field Korean companies who have mastered the 10nano techology, which Toshiba still hasn't. How can they steal something from the Japanese who don't even have it yet? That's some arrogance.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

@chucky: Morita and Ibuka studied computer industry in USA. Then returned to Japan. They chabged Tokyo Denki Tsushin to name Sony/ Boon That was way after IBM 360 was exported to Japan. Tokyo DenkiTsushin used to be Ding Dong Moshsimoshi Nanban phone company in Japan. After that it got idea of dial phone, then way later push button phone. It did not copy. It just crteated for Japanese municial and prefecture Govt. Toshiba imported IBM 360. A huge computer/ We did not imagine Toshiba would go to ccomputer business then, Toshiba belongs to Mitsui. Copying and copycatting differ. Well. Korean copy mega bytes flash memory system to get sued while Japan Inc already have super giga bytes and tera bytes flash memoy drive on markets vewry cheaply/ Soap is poor because other Japan Inc such as Tohiba crushed it. In U/SA. Japan vs Japan corporation wars. BTW, Sharp creatged Solar Energy Panels are profittabel in XCalif, Panasonic created spy X-ray systems are all over in hosapitals. NAND chips? You are 20 years or more out of dated. Peta Eca. Zetta Yetta we have been talking in USA.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Chucky. Cars were first made by germans. Not by ford. Nand technology hasnt change. And Toshiba developed it... somehow every company using NAND has to pay royalties to toshiba. Just like all pre-charged batteries patent is owned by sanyo. Or.... Blu-Ray by sony used by Xbox one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why would HYNIX allegedly steal from a company with technologically inferior NAND Flash chips

Because they aren't inferior and, what's more, it seems like they're using superior technology.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cars came out in Japan when we were using Jin-riki=sha, (rikisha) GM and Ford came to japan in early 1950's. Honda created motorcyle. Nissan had trucks. GM and ford were only family cars in Japan, then, Toshiba was Mitsui subsidiary. We did not think Toshiba would be computer makers as huge IBM 360 was sold to large corporations, then,. That was manual typewriter era before electric typewriters were intrroduced You had to type (Japanese language typewriter) you are not going to leak company secret, When you get mad at a male employee to pour tea to him and if you pour ta to his head, you don;t get fired because you did not leak secret and scancals. Group works mentality (men hated to work same positions with women) are still there I heard from youngsters,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

S. Korean techs is full of thieves stealing trade secrets to get ahead. Apple is one example. They should get their head together get that crazy brother up North and stop complaining of their incompetence.

True. It's really no surprise, however, as Koreans have been doing this for awhile now.

http://zenkimchi.com/featured/a-culture-of-copying/

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I just love how you guys are blaming Korean companies for this kind of things when you guys should be blaming JAPANESE workers who brought information/technolgies to those companies. Maybe they can start treating them and paying them better? Why do you think Japanese college students are starting to think Samsung as prospective company to work for when they graduate? They pay better and don't force early retirements on them, unlike Japanese companies. Japanese people are the ones who BRING technologies/information to South Korean companies, because they offer what Japanese companies don't offer.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

In ancient times Korea produced nothing that the Chinese didn't invent first. In modern times Korea never produced anything that the Japanese didn't invent first. Even kimchee wasn't red until red pepper from China was introduced. I really can't blame them for their enormous complex.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@John

Bad example since LTE was first proposed by NTT DoCoMo of Japan in 2004, and studies on the new standard officially commenced in 2005.

Basically SKorean companies are simply providing lower bids to gain contracts that is all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

technologically inferior NAND Flash chips.

Inferior prior to 2008 when this theft occurred? Or inferior in the five years since that time when the thieving hynix corporation had been able to make full use of the data they stole? Shameful.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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