Feeds

HTC trio suspected of pilfering design IP

Investigators storm mobe maker's offices after firm sounds alarm

Boost IT visibility and business value

Senior members of HTC’s design team have been detained by Taiwanese investigators on suspicion of defrauding the under-fire smartphone maker and stealing valuable IP.

HTC raised the alarm with Taiwan’s Bureau of Investigators after the suspects – including VP of product design Thomas Chien, R&D director Wu Chien Hung and design team senior manager Justin Huang – set up their own design company, report Bloomberg and Engadget.

The mobile phone company thinks the three have been stealing trade secrets, after it apparently caught Chien downloading info on the new Sense 6.0 UI before emailing them to contacts outside the company.

If that proves to be true, it would seem that HTC’s design team haven’t grasped the concept of data loss prevention technology.

The three are also suspected of conspiring with a third party design firm to issue false invoices for the One’s chassis design to the tune of NT$10 million (£215,500). They are said to have carried out the work in-house, but then arranged for the external firm to invoice HTC, and then split the cash between themselves.

Chien and Wu have now apparently been taken into custody while Huang and two others questioned were released on bail. Investigators also raided HTC’s offices on Friday night, seizing the suspects’ phones and laptops.

HTC didn't immediately get back to us with a statement, but sent Engadget the following:

The company expects employees to observe and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics. Protecting the company's proprietary and intellectual properties, privacy and security is a core fundamental responsibility of every employee. The company does not condone any violation. As this matter is currently under investigation by the relevant authorities, we therefore refrain from further comments.

The developments are yet another unwanted distraction as the ailing Taiwanese smartphone maker battles poor financial results and sluggish demand for its handsets.

Shares tumbled to almost an eight year low at the end of July as the firm warned that Q3 may see its first ever operating loss. Profits were down 83 per cent in Q2 2013 compared with the same period in 2012.

The mobe maker has also been struggling to hang on to senior execs this year, with chief product officer Matthew Costello, VP of global comms Jason Gordon, product strategy manager Eric Lin and global retail marketing manager Rebecca Rowland all exiting. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.