Feeds

Apple supplier AU Optronics suffers IP theft blow

Former execs accused of selling Amoled secrets to China

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Two former execs from Taiwanese flat panel-maker and Apple supplier AU Optronics have been arrested on suspicion of carrying out industrial espionage for their new employer, Chinese electronics firm TCL.

The two – surnamed Lien and Wang – were pulled in for questioning by the Taiwanese Bureau of Investigation last month, according to AFP.

The pair are suspected of stealing IP relating to AU’s AMOLED technology before being hired by TCL unit Star Optoelectronics Technology, where they were apparently being paid an annual salary in excess of US$1 million.

Before the move, Lien was in charge of AU Optronics’ display tech development centre while Wang was a research unit manager.

"The illegal leak of the cutting-edge technology has undermined Taiwan's competitive edge in the flat-panel industry and severely betrayed the national interest," said the Bureau in a statement obtained by AFP.

The two have apparently been released and now await further questioning by prosecutors.

AU Optronics is widely believed to be supplying Apple with display technology for its much anticipated iPad Mini tablet, along with Korean rival LG Display.

Chinese firms are often blamed for cyber espionage, most notably the decade long hack of telecoms kit maker Nortel, but a more straightforward trade in IP by the corrupt and/or misguided seems to be as big a threat to firms.

Just last month a Chinese man went on trial in the US accused of exporting defence related data to his homeland and possessing stolen trade secrets, while US military contractor United Technologies was hit with a $75m fine after confessing to over 500 export violations.

The problem is particularly pronounced for Taiwanese businesses which often operate on the mainland, making it easier for rival, local, firms to steal trade secrets.

A year ago, AU Optronics, TSMC and other tech firms urged Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou to push for a new law explicitly penalising industrial espionage. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.