Kolmar Korea won the first trial of a civil suit filed against Intercos Korea, the Korean subsidiary of Intercos of Italy, and former Kolmar Korea researchers.
The 62nd Civil Division of the Seoul Central District Court (Presiding Judge Young-kwang Lee) said in the first trial civil suit for 'prohibition of infringement of trade secrets, etc.' filed by Kolmar Korea, "The trade secrets leaked by former Kolmar Korea researchers (to Intercos Korea) should be destroyed. “Jointly pay 200 million won plus interest on delay,” the ruling ruled.
Incident overview and progress
This incident, which directly involved Intercos Korea, the Korean subsidiary of Intercos, an Italian company with operations around the world, and Kolmar Korea, a cosmetics ODM specialist, dates back about five years.
Mr. A, who joined Kolmar Korea in 2008, left the company in January 2018 after working for 9 years and 4 months due to moving to the United States. A week after leaving the company, Mr. A transferred to Intercos’ Korean subsidiary (Shinsegae Intercos Korea at the time).
He took out hundreds of major work files related to sunscreen technology from the laptop computer he was using while working at Kolmar Korea by uploading them to Google Drive.
It was revealed that Mr. B, who worked at Kolmar Korea from 2007 to 2012, also attempted to leak core technology through fraudulent means after joining Intercos Korea in 2018, close to the time of Mr. A.
△ Intercos Korea did not manufacture or sell sunscreen products until 2017, but began producing related products in 2018 when Mr. A joined the company. △ Intercos Korea's UV protection that occurred in that year (2018) Product-related sales amount to approximately KRW 46 billion (according to Intercos Korea's 2018 audit report, the company's total sales for the year were KRW 25.86 billion) △ Intercos Korea produced 44 products related to sunscreen (sun care) in 2018 alone. The completion of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety review was unusual. △ This was Kolmar Korea's claim that the product was made using trade secrets stolen from Kolmar Korea, and the court accepted this claim.
In the second trial of the criminal case that was previously conducted, Mr. A was sentenced to 10 months in prison, and △ Mr. B was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 2 years of probation. Intercos Korea was sentenced to a fine of 10 million won.
Regarding this ruling, Kolmar Korea stated, “The court ruling in this case is a stern warning against immoral technology leaks that seek to undermine the business fundamentals of sound domestic companies,” and added, “We have invested hundreds of billions of won over the past 30 years to expand our global reach.” “We will take legal action until the end against those who take away the ultraviolet rays (sun care) technology that has been raised to the highest level,” he said.
Meanwhile, Intercos Korea (then Shinsegae Intercos Korea), which was established as a limited company in 2014 and converted to a stock company (Shinsegae International·Intercos Asia Pacific Ltd. 50:50 shareholding) the following year, acquired a full 50% stake in Shinsegae in 2020. and changed to the current company name.
As of the end of last year, it recorded sales of 97.2 billion won, operating profit of 4.1 billion won, and net period of 3.1 billion won.