South Korea's industry ministry on Wednesday concluded that Samsung Display Co.'s workplace environment report contains "key national technologies" that need protection from public disclosure.
The special panel of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, composed of governmental and industrial experts, reached the conclusion after reviewing Samsung's workplace assessment report on its four factories located in Giheung, Cheonan, and Asan.
"The special panel concluded that Samsung Display's workplace environment report contained some of the key national technologies," the ministry said in a statement.
The so-called key national technologies include those related to eighth-generation TFT-LCD panels, along with the active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) panels.
The panel said the information included in the report, including names of chemical products used, could help rivals get a glimpse of Samsung's business know-how. It added the report also includes "detailed layout" of facilities which could be used by rivals to improve their productivity.
A former worker of Samsung Display, who suffered from lymphoma after working at the company's Asan-based facility for three years, earlier requested the labor ministry to have the display maker open the document, which also includes details of chemical products used, to the public.
The Daejeon office of the Ministry of Employment and Labor ordered Samsung Display to open the workplace environment report for its production facility in Asan, South Chungcheong Province.
Samsung Display filed a lawsuit against the labor ministry in April, claiming it cannot publicly reveal what it calls sensitive information.
The company claimed that the release of sensitive information could help overseas rivals narrow the technology gap with Samsung Display, especially considering the heightened competition in the industry.
The panel concluded the report on Samsung Display's Giheung plant included information on TFT-LCD and AMOLED panels, and those of Cheonan and Asan facilities also specified information on AMOLED panels. The panel also said the other Asan plant's report also contained sensitive information on eighth-generation TFT-LCD panels.
In April, the industry ministry concluded that Samsung Electronics Co.'s assessment reports for factories in Onyang, Giheung, Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek need to be protected from public disclosure, determining that the documents include sensitive information. (Yonhap News)