Tue, Nov 06, 2018 - Page 12 News List

MediaTek to appeal not guilty verdict for ex-workers

NO ADVERSE EFFECTS?A human resources worker copying the personal information of MediaTek employees does not amount to theft of trade secrets, a Taipei court said

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Integrated circuit designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday said it would appeal a not guilty verdict given to two former employees who were charged with misappropriation of trade secrets.

The announcement came amid intense media focus on industrial espionage — especially by China, as it poaches talent from around the world to achieve its goal of becoming a major player in the global semiconductor industry by 2025.

The Hsinchu-based company, which makes most of its revenue in China, said it deeply regretted the Taipei District Court’s ruling last month.

MediaTek said in a statement that it has hired lawyers to file an appeal in a bid to safeguard its interests, and prevent loss of talent and technology to rivals.

“The trade secret theft has severely damaged the company’s interests. MediaTek has to safeguard and protect its important human assets with significant economic value. The company will not tolerate any violations,” it said.

Lin Pi-yu (林碧玉) took advantage of her position in the human resources department and stole personal information about the firm’s important employees, such as their names, job titles, expertise and work experience, the company said.

She then sent the information to her personal e-mail in preparation for opening a headhunter agency in May 2012, it said.

“Talent is extremely crucial in enhancing a high-tech company’s competitiveness. It is especially true for the highly competitive semiconductor industry,” MediaTek said.

Lin and her husband, Chen We-ren (陳威任), a former senior engineer at the chipmaker, were under investigation for the past three years for allegedly stealing trade secrets.

However, the court said that there was no strong evidence that the couple was guilty of the charge, adding that MediaTek did not suffer any material losses due to their actions.

The personal information of MediaTek employees does not have any economic value and cannot be deemed trade secrets, the court said.

The theft of the information does not have any adverse affect on the firm’s operations, the court added.

Furthermore, three former employees who testified as witnesses said that their departures were due mostly to personal reasons and that they did not have direct links to Lin, the court said.

Shares of MediaTek rose 1.1 percent yesterday to close at NT$230 in Taipei trading.

They have declined 21.77 percent since the beginning of the year.

Deutsche Bank AG has lowered its 12-month target price on the MediaTek stock to NT$400 from NT$440, but maintained its “buy” recommendation on prospects for gross margin expansion and earnings turnaround next year, Deutsche Bank research analyst Michael Chou (周立中) said in a note on Thursday.

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