Sunday, February 03, 2008

South Korea - technology theft

WiBro Thieves Get Jail Terms

An appellate court has handed down prison sentences for four former researchers who tried to steal Korean-developed WiBro technology, the third-generation global standard wireless broadband technology. They were arrested in court. In the first trial, only one of the four had been sentenced to jail. But the Seoul High Court put all four researchers in prison terms as a deterrent against technology leaks.

The court said Sunday it sentenced the four to up to two years in prison on charges of stealing WiBro technology developed by Korean IT firm POSDATA. The accused were former researchers with the firm.

They stole the core WiBro technology over six months between September 2006 and March 2007 and attempted to pass it to a company they established in the U.S. They planned to headhunt some 30 researchers from POSDATA, offering high salaries and stock options as incentives, to complete the technology and sell it to a U.S. communications company for W180 billion (US$1=W944).

In the first trial, only one of the researchers, identified as Chung, was sentenced to three years in prison for being the ringleader, while the three others were given suspended sentences. But the Seoul High Court said it delivered heavier sentences since they were deeply involved in the crime, which was very grave. The bench said the accused had reached an agreement with POSDATA, but it decided to punish them severely to sound the alarm against technology leaks.

WiBro is a wireless telecommunication service that allows users to access the Internet on the move. The homegrown mobile Internet technology was adopted as a third-generation world industry standard called the IMT-2000 last October.

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