Samsung in more bother at home

Samsung has landed itself in another two legal disputes.

The company faces accusations from panel maker AU Optronics (AUO), which claims that Samsung  infringed its LCD patents. Meanwhile, Korea’s CJ Group has said that the company committed an “act of betrayal” over an acquisition bidding for logistics company Korea Express.

Samsung isn’t having an easy time recently, and it looks as though the CJ Group plans to add to its woes.

The finger pointing began because Samsung’s Securities arm had a contract with the CJ Group. However, because its sister company – Samsung SDS – had decided to go head to head with the CJ Group in the Korea Express acquisition, the Securities arm decided to terminate the contract out of fairness.

However, the CJ Group said that the company’s actions were “fooling no one”. It said that through its contract, Samsung Securities had already garnered enough information to know exactly  how much the group was bidding for the logistics company – which it could then pass onto Samsung SDS.

“Samsung Securities has possession of all critical and classified information in regard to the bidding, including the price we planned to offer. There is a very big possibility that this information would be relayed to Samsung SDS,” the group told the Korea Herald.

CJ’s chairman Lee Jay-hyun’s cousin is Lee Jae-yong, president of Samsung Electronics and heir to Samsung Group.

Apparently Mr Jay-hyun felt personally betrayed after he had gone to his cousin and privately requested his support to help CJ acquire Korea Express, something that he didn’t listen to.

We’re not sure what the courts will make of this unusual case, but Samsung isn’t exactly flavour of the month in South Korea at the moment. Nor is it squeaky clean.

Earlier this month the company was publicly forced to get its act together and stamp out corruption after an inspection alleged that elements of the company were involved in wrong doings.

The South Korean government decided to make an example of the company, making the case public.

Things got worse last week when a court ruled that it had to pay compensation to two families, after it found that a pair who worked cleaning wafers on a production line in Gyeonggi Provincehad contracted leukaemia. They passed away as a result of the company’s processes, it is alleged.

And there’s more trouble for the company to contend with. AUO has announced that it will seek damages from Samsung and three of its customers for allegedly infringing its LCD patents.

However, it could be a small case of tit for tat here with Samsung filing a similar lawsuit against AUO earlier this month.

AUO has gone to the federal courts in Delaware and California and the International Trade Commission, with claims that Samsung, alongside AT&T and Best Buy, infringed 10 of its patents used in LCDs.

It wants Samsung to pay compensation and also remove the screens found in monitors, TVs, mobile phones and notebooks.

We’re not saying it’s related, but Samsung was saved from a huge fine last year when it grassed up conspirators in a price fixing scam.