Six employees of leading local smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電), including vice president of product design Chien Chih-lin (簡志霖), were indicted by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday on charges of leaking trade secrets and breach of trust.
Three of HTC’s suppliers were also indicted for alledgedly helping HTC design executives make false expense claims of more than NT$33 million (US$1.1 million).
Prosecutors said Chien and HTC research and development director Wu Chien-hung (吳建弘), both detained since Aug. 31, planned to open phone design companies in Taiwan and China. They were planning to cooperate with Chinese local governments to start companies and transfer HTC technology, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Chien stole and leaked key designs to his would-be Chinese business partners in Beijing in June. The designs were for a yet-to-be-unveiled HTC smartphone interface.
Chien’s actions were in violation of Article 13 of the Trade Secrets Act (營業秘密法) that bans stealing or unauthorized reproduction, revelation and use of key corporate business secrets, the indictment said.
The indictment added that Chien had colluded with Wu to defraud the company of NT$33.566 million by using fake invoices to inflate their expenses and by demanding rebates from HTC’s suppliers.
Prosecutors are seeking the maximum penalty for Chien, saying he showed no remorse during the investigation, putting forward specious arguments in an attempt to justify his illegal actions.
The other four employees who were indicted are HTC senior manager of design and innovation Huang Kuo-ching (黃國清), senior manager of design and innovation Huang Hung-yi (黃弘毅), manufacturing design department manager Hung Chung-yi (洪琮鎰) and Chen Shih-tsou (陳枻佐), a rank-and-file employee.
All of them, except Hung Chung-yi, confessed to breaking the law in a remorseful manner and the court should be lenient with them, prosecutors said.
In light of Huang Kuo-ching and Huang Hung-yi having settled their dispute with HTC and have been forgiven by the company, prosecutors recommended suspended sentences for the pair.
Prosecutors suggested lenient sentences for the three materials suppliers, saying they were remorseful and very cooperative during the investigation.
Meanwhile, Chien’s actions also constituted a breach of trust as stipulated in the Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法), which carries a prison sentence ranging from three to 10 years.
The HTC case is the first of its kind since the Trade Secrets Act was revised earlier this year.
Under the revised law, the penalty for leaking corporate trade secrets to China or other countries is one to 10 years in prison and a fine of between NT$3 million and NT$50 million. If the illegal gains in a case surpass NT$50 million, the fine can be two to 10 times the amount of the gains.
“The company expects employees to observe and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics,” HTC said in a statement. “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.”
Additional reporting by Rich Chang
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and
TAKING NOTICE: In the first time that G7 foreign ministers have mentioned Taiwan in a joint communique, they called for ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ The Presidential Office yesterday thanked the G7 foreign ministers for their strong support of Taiwan after the group in its joint statement on Wednesday called for the nation’s participation in the WHO, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The ministers in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting declared support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation” in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA). “The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement included a section
UP TO TWO DAYS: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said that most who got the shot and felt discomfort only felt ill for the first two days Employees can ask for unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave, from the day of their shot until the end of the next day, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, adding that the policy takes effect immediately. “The policy of unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave will be implemented starting on May 5, and all workers and civil servants will be eligible,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news conference. Leave can be taken on the day of vaccination and if recipients feel discomfort after getting the shot, they can extend the leave to all of the