Hyundai Construction Equipment, an affiliate of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), will be questioned by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) over allegations that it has extorted self-driving technology for unmanned forklift from a small and medium-sized company that was in partnership.
According to the Kyunghyang Shinmun on June 19, the FTC recently launched an investigation into a case in which Potenit, an unmanned technology small and medium-sized company, reported Hyundai Construction Equipment's violation of the Fair Trade Act, saying that it was "inappropriate use of technology to hinder business activities."
In 2017, Potenit and Hyundai Construction Equipment formed a business partnership to develop an unmanned forklift. Potenit remodeled a forklift of Hyundai Construction Equipment into an unmanned forklift and handed it over to Hyundai Construction Equipment.
Since then, the partnership between Potenit and Hyundai Construction Equipment was suspended late last year due to differences of opinion in reviewing the establishment of a joint venture.
Meanwhile, when Hyundai Construction Equipment announced in April that it had developed the first self-driving unmanned forklift in South Korea, Potenit started to take a legal action.
Based on Potenit's self-driving technology information obtained from the cooperative process, Hyundai Construction Equipment has made virtually the same vehicle as the products they received in service contracts.
Park Hee-jung, a lawyer for Potenit, told the newspaper that the company violated the agreement that the acquisition information cannot be used without the consent of the other party and that the results of the research are co-subjected.
In response, Hyundai Construction Equipment claimed that some of the unmanned forklift technologies received after the service was given to Potenit are also owned by Hyundai Construction Equipment and can be used without the consent of Potenit.
Potenit has also filed a civil suit against Hyundai Construction Equipment. It has also filed for an injunction to ban Hyundai Construction Equipment from manufacturing and selling unmanned forklift, saying it could cause massive damage to its business.