HTC Designers Arrested for Stealing Trade Secrets

technology, smartphone, htc, fraud, trade secrets

When looking to leave an employer, there are pretty significant rules to follow. Avoid lying on the time expense sheet, never steal trade secrets and don’t fudge information on an invoice to boost a newly formed company. Three top designers for the smartphone powerhouse are facing criminal charges from HTC.

Media outlets overseas stated three senior designers were creating their own design companies in Taiwan. Reportedly, the designers created a $334,000 invoice and sent it to HTC for payment. The design was done in-house, yet the three minds collaborated a ruse to use an external design company to receive the money and split it. The endeavor of the funds were to be funneled into their own design firms. The head minds of this deception was going to place their resignation after receiving their scheduled bonuses.

More importantly, HTC is enraged as it appears the designers gleaned a soon to be released interface for their own newly created company. Those involved emailed the interface trade secret information to contacts outside of the company. Reportedly, those contacts may have been Chinese manufacturers to start the creation process. Who has been named as culprits in this dirty move? High names in the HTC Taipei, Taiwan offices:

  • Vice President of Product Design, Thomas Chien
  • R&D’s director, Wu Chien Huang
  • Senior design manager, Justin Huang
  • Two other senior designers, currently not named

HTC reported the investigators raided both the R&D center and the executives homes to acquire information. HTC captured Chien downloading files of the “upcoming Sense 6.0 UI” to an external source, and immediately filed the complaint. The main complaint against the five involved was the trade secret sharing. Sadly, HTC will also feel an impact from the deception of the group. Huang was the design mind behind the HTC One, and the executives charged are all well respected and highly sought designers.

HTC showed no concern about the markets opening on Monday overseas, and feel no backlash will occur with the mar on their record. The trio of top executives had allegedly created a company called Xiaoyu. The company was to launch to the Chinese smartphone market, and use the stolen interface from HTC. Officials investigating the claims remained mum on the interface, and its inclusion on the rumored One Max, slated for release later this year.

HTC released a statement, advising they hold employees to the “highest levels of integrity and ethics,” which include protecting the “intellectual properties” of the company. Due to the on-going investigation, HTC has opted out of releasing specific details of the events. The loss of these intelligent minds is certainly a hit, especially with the leak of the interface. Many are left to wonder, if other companies in the China market will suddenly develop a bright idea.

Just a few days ago, HTC was looking to develop a new operating system, aimed at the Chinese phone market. The hope was to increase the dismal sales HTC saw from the previous quarter. The deception of the executives makes one wonder if the leak become more wide-spread than intended. The first quarter of 2013 was a decent reporting figure, in the second quarter- sales took a drastic slump.

HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang has taken a personal interest into boosting the overseas market. It was also Wang who reported the executives for sharing trade secrets. HTC may feel overall, the hit won’t be seen on the markets, but they may be surprised. The last thing the company needs is bad press with declining sales. Further, is the arrest of their top design minds, leaving many to wonder on future phones and who will take the helm. It is with high hopes this strong contender will work past this bump in the road to continue to make great phones.

Angelina Bouc

Sources

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4 Responses to "HTC Designers Arrested for Stealing Trade Secrets"

  1. Christian Hermann   September 1, 2013 at 7:18 am

    There has to be more behind this story. Based on previous designer ‘layoffs’ it appears there are serious tensions between the HTC management and its design teams, maybe micro-controlling, authocratic hierarchy management style is the issue. Why would a whole team commit to such crime? Lack of understanding what IP is?

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