A man has been arrested for suspicions of leaking research data from Japan’s Toshiba Corp. to a South Korean company. Tokyo police have taken 52-year old Yoshitaka Sugita into custody for providing SK Hynix Inc. with data he obtained illegally.
Sugita was a former engineer at semiconductor maker SanDisk Corp., which collaborated with Toshiba Corp. in producing flash memory disks, before being employed at SK Hynix. The data he acquired was research made on NAND flash memory used in different products such as mobile phones from the period of April 2007 until May 2008. Police suspect Sugita took the data when he was still at SanDisk and gave it to SK Hynix when he was already employed at the firm in July 2008.
Toshiba and SanDisk have filed criminal charges against Sugita while Toshiba also has filed a damages suit against SK Hynix with the Tokyo District Court, accusing the South Korean firm to have wrongfully acquired and illegally used proprietary technical information. 10 years ago, Toshiba already filed a case against the Japanese arm of Hynix for violation of its flash memory patents. They also sought for a ruling on the sale of offending products, which the Tokyo District Court granted in 2006. Hynix was ordered to stop the sale of its products which violated the patents, and to pay 7.8 million yen (approx. US$76,700) to Toshiba in damages.