Big Businesses Face Hefty Fines for Stealing Tech from Smaller Firms

  • By Jo Jae-hee

    February 13, 2018 12:02

    Minister of SMEs and Start-ups Hong Jong-haak speaks in a meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul on Monday. /Yonhap

    Big conglomerates that steal proprietary technology from small and mid-sized companies will face a fine 10 times the size of the damage, up from the present three times, to discourage them from writing off the cost.

    The Ministry of SMEs and Start-ups and ruling Minjoo Party agreed to several measures on Monday to prevent big businesses from appropriating technology from smaller ones.

    The government intends to apply a wider range of regulations to mete out harsher punishments to offenders. At present, big businesses are only required to pay for the damage incurred by small and mid-sized companies for tech-related violations.

    But in future they will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement when receiving blueprints and patented data from small and mid-sized companies.

    "We are seeking to prohibit big businesses from demanding classified and proprietary technology from small and mid-sized companies either by e-mail or in person, which is common practice," SME and Start-ups Minister Hong Jong-haak said. "Violators will face criminal charges."

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