Samsung and LG announce a legal cease-fire

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Samsung and LG announce a legal cease-fire

Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and their respective display arms reached a breakthrough deal on Tuesday to end all ongoing legal suits.

“Samsung Electronics, Samsung Display, LG Electronics and LG Display have agreed to terminate legal disputes under way,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The statement also said the two sides would refrain from any legal measures should any conflict or dispute occur over the course of conducting business in the future and amicably resolve them through conversation and discussion.

The groundbreaking decision came against the backdrop of the two industry giants’ reasoning that they need to join forces to cope with the challenging economic situation and focus on improving the quality of products and services for consumers.

“We will take necessary steps such as dropping charges and request favorable arrangements from the authorities,” the statement said. But it will be up to prosecutors to decide whether to accept the companies’ requests to end legal action.

One of the most attention-grabbing cases is Samsung Electronics’ claim that Cho Sung-jin, president of the home appliance division at LG Electronics, intentionally vandalized its latest washing machine at a retail store in Berlin ahead of the opening of IFA international consumer electronics show Sept. 3 in the German capital.

Samsung filed charges against Cho and three other executives, and LG quickly countersued Samsung for defamation and forging evidence.

The Tuesday agreement between Samsung and LG came four days after Cho asked Seoul Central District Court to postpone the second pretrial disposition conference, a step that precedes a trial, from the initially scheduled March 27 to April 17. LG said it needed more time.

The controversy has been dragging on for six months, increasingly turning into an ugly game of truth or dare between the two industry leaders in smartphones and other consumer gadgets.

LG, the smaller player, on Feb. 15 posted on YouTube a video clip taken by a closed-circuit camera at the scene to show Cho was simply “testing” the washing machine by Samsung, saying it is a common “industry practice.”

In the clip, Cho is seen pressing his knee down against the open door of the Samsung washer several times in a gesture probably meant to test the door’s hinge.

Samsung refuted the argument on its official blog two days later, saying no electronics company in the world tests a product from a rival on display at a store. LG should have purchased the Samsung washer and tested it at a laboratory if it really wanted to test it, the tech bellwether added.

In a separate case, Samsung Electronics accused a former LG Electronics executive of stealing confidential business plans and using them to win in the bidding for a government-led project in 2009.

The display arms of Samsung and LG also have been engaged in another protracted dispute since 2012, accusing each other of leaking OLED-related technologies.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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