HTC’s trade secrets stolen by top designers, suspects in custody

Seems 2013 will go down as one of HTC’s worst years in history financially and legally. Despite having the best designed an functional Android phones on the market they seem not to have their internal issues in check. At the end of May this year HTC had several executives leave the company, and it  has filed a formal complaint out of its offices in Taipei, Taiwan, that several high-level employees stole trade secrets after planning to leaving the company. Many Chinese papers have also reported that HTC’s VP of product design Thomas Chien, an R&D director Wu Chien Hung, and design team senior manager Justin Huang  were among five employees that planned to leave the company after collecting their mid-year bonuses yesterday.

Upcoming Sense UI 6.0 Stolen

According to Engadget‘s Richard Lai cites several Chinese sources are reporting that HTC “caught Chien secretly downloading files related to the upcoming Sense 6.0 UI design” and sharing the data with external contacts via email. The two executives Chien and Wu were reportedly both taken into custody following raids at HTC’s R&D center and the suspects’ homes and offices.

The drama still continues, not only did they steal 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 dividing the fee between themselves. The three culprits had 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.” China Post, claims that one suspect at the scene of the R&D raid arrogated that HTC management was aware of the new business and questioned the reason for the search.

Hoping great design DNA continues

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HTC has to deal with both of internal fraud, and also deal with the fact that they have to lose some very important members of its
design team. Its known that Huang personally outlined out the design for the HTC One, while Chien spearheads the entire product design team in Taiwan.We hope these events wont shadow HTC’s great design strengths in the Android realm and that  the great design DNA continues after this mess.