Largan requests local court seizure against rival
By Ted Chen ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Largan Precision Co. (大立光) yesterday filed a request at a Taichung local court to initiate provisional seizure actions against competitor Ability Opto-Electronics Technology Co. (AOET, 先進光), marking an escalation in a patent infringement battle between the two handset camera lens makers which began in June.
September 26, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
Largan stated the move had been based on a suspicion that AOET had stolen its trade secrets and conducted industrial espionage. According to Largan, AOET had successfully applied for two patents shortly after poaching four of its engineers. Largan suspects that the patent applications were based on its proprietary trade secrets, which were stolen by the four engineers.
The request for a provisional seizure of AOET's working capital, liquid assets, and production equipment is a necessary step in preserving the company's interests, Largan said. The situation is deemed more severe than the case of corporate defectors that earlier rocked the business of handset maker HTC, according to Largan.
Industry observers have since remarked that the handset lens- making sector is one segmented by tremendous technical obstacles, compelling many players in the field to resort to talent poaching to gain a competitive edge. As a sector leader in scale and production yield rate, Largan is particularly susceptible to talent poaching from competitors hoping to close the gap, according to commentators. However, commentators also stated that Largan's management have this year switched to a more offensive stance, including patent infringement lawsuits as part of the company's strategy in preserving its leading position in the sector.
Largan stated that it employs a team-oriented approach in its research and development endeavors and that its cutting edge capabilities could not be overtaking by the poaching of a few of its employees. The company stated that while its engineers are experts in their field, the complexity of making handset lenses requires a collaborative effort between experts in several separate technical disciplines and departments.
Meanwhile, AOET denied all allegations, and stated that the two patents in question have yet to enter production. AOET announced that it is poised to launch a countersuit to defend the company's interests and reputation.
Beleaguered by recent developments, shares of AOET tumbled by 7 percent off the opening bell, or NT$2.40, and remained at NT$32.25 until the end of yesterday's session, with sell-orders for over 2 million shares still awaiting processing.
Incidentally, shares of Largan yesterday dipped to an intraday low of NT$997, before rebounding to a closing price of NT$1,015, gaining NT$5, or 0.5 percent at the end of trading.