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Hotel booking app must compensate rival for alleged information theft

This file photo shows Yanolja's headquarters in southern Seoul.  (Yonhap)

This file photo shows Yanolja’s headquarters in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, August 23 (Korea Bizwire)South Korea’s biggest accommodation booking app Yanolja has beaten industry rival Good Choice in a civil suit filed over an alleged leak of confidential company information, court officials said on Monday. .

The Seoul Central District Court ordered Good Choice Company (GCC), the operator of the eponymous hotel booking platform, to pay Yanolja 1 billion won ($850,000) in compensation for stealing a large amount of information about partner accommodations from this last five years ago.

The court also prohibited GCC from duplicating, distributing, transferring, selling and storing information about Yanolja’s partner accommodations across the country.

Yanolja filed the civil suit in 2018 after alleging that GCC stole a huge amount of data about its partners’ accommodations from its computer server in 2016.

“Defendant’s officers and employees used Plaintiff’s partner’s accommodation information in violation of fair trading practices and the Competition Ordinance, even though they knew their act infringed Plaintiff’s business interests” , the court said.

She rejected the defendant’s assertion that the information collected from Yanolja was of little value while asserting that the amount of compensation was determined by taking into account the plaintiff’s annual personnel expenditure within its sales department.

In a relevant criminal trial, GCC officials were first convicted of information theft by a district court in March 2019, but were later acquitted by an appeals court.

The appeals court ruled that Yanolja did not appear to have hidden the information or kept it private. The case has since been appealed to the Supreme Court.