HTC’s top designers accused of stealing trade secrets.
In addition to stealing trade secrets, HTC also alleges the designers charged elevated fees for their part in the design of HTC’s One smartphone. Although the design was done in-house, Lai reports that Chien, Wu, and Huang are accused of using “an external design firm to invoice HTC for over $334,000” before splitting the fee between themselves. The trio have reportedly registered a new design company aimed at the Chinese market, where Focus Taiwan claims they’re “likely to work with Chinese smartphone vendors to develop new models, using the technology they stole from HTC.” According to the China Post, one suspect at the scene of the R&D raid claimed HTC management was aware of the new business and questioned the reason for the search. It should be noted that, while UDN agrees with the chain of events, it doesn’t attribute the comments to suspect, but rather an onlooker.
The problems are two-fold for HTC
The problems are two-fold for HTC. As well as allegedly dealing with a major issue of internal fraud, the company also looks likely to lose some very important members of its design team. Huang personally sketched out the design for the HTC One, while Chien spearheads the entire product design team in Taiwan. HTC hasn’t commented on any of the revelations, apart from to note that “the matter is under investigation by relevant authorities.”
Update: HTC has elaborated on its previous statement, telling us that it “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.”