Samsung Ordered To Free Zoll

Calling the company's actions "barbaric," a federal judge has ordered Samsung Electronics to free "Zoll," a feral child adopted by the tech giant in 2001.

Found abandoned in the woods by a product executive, Zoll was raised by Samsung employees from infancy in the company's New Jersey offices. His existence was revealed to the public during the company's keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011, where he was forced to participate in a series of demeaning promotional videos and dance onstage.

Samsung had hoped this "soft launch" of Zoll as a corporate mascot would soon evolve into an international marketing campaign. However, the company's ambitions were cut short when company president BK Yoon inadvertantly revealed the child's captive status in an interview with The Seoul Times (at the time, a Samsung spokesperson claimed Yoon had been mistranslated by the western press). Zoll soon became a cause célèbre amongst tech bloggers and human rights activists alike, and the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the company in May 2011.

During the highly publicized trial, Samsung lawyers argued that because the company is legally a person, it had the legal right to adopt a human being. However, the jury rejected those claims and found Samsung guilty of corporate malfeasance, child abduction, child endangerment, child laundering, child neglect, failure to report an abandoned infant, transporting a minor across state lines for purposes of prostitution/advertising, and parent infringement.

Samsung is expected to appeal.