A South Korean court cleared LG Electronics Inc’s appliance chief from charges of vandalising washing machines made by rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on the sidelines of a trade show in Germany last year.
The ruling caps a public spat between South Korea’s top two technology firms, which have a history of feuding over subjects such as whose refrigerator could hold more and who had a bigger share of the domestic air conditioning market.
The Seoul Central District Court said on Friday there was not enough evidence to prove that Jo Seung-jin deliberately damaged Samsung’s washers during the industry trade show. The prosecutors, who indicted Jo in February, sought a 10-month jail term for the executive.
“I will redouble efforts for technological development to produce more good products that will be loved by customers around the world,” Jo told reporters following the verdict.
In September 2014, Samsung filed a formal complaint to local prosecutors accusing Jo of deliberately damaging Samsung washers. LG had agreed to pay for what it called accidental damage to four machines, but at the same time derided the quality of its rival’s products, angering Samsung.
The dispute triggered a barrage of public mockery from South Koreans, who chided the firms for escalating what they said was a petty dispute that neither side can gain from.
The two companies eventually agreed in March to drop all legal disputes including the washer spat, but that did not stop the criminal court proceedings.