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Alleged trade secret theft in real estate, IC industry

As a raid was launched on the residences of former MediaTek Inc. (聯發科技) employees for alleged trade secret thefts, a Sinyi Realty (信義房屋) executive was sued for falsely accusing a rival of the same crime.

Local media on Wednesday reported that Yung-ching Realty housing business (永慶房產集團) General Manager Yeh Ling-chi (葉凌棋) in late June filed suit against Sinyi Realty Chairman Chou Chun-chi (周俊吉) for his false accusation that Yung-ching instigated undercover actions at Sinyi for 18 years. Sinyi and Yung-ching are the top two real estate brokerages in Taiwan.

Complaints had been filed for six years straight by Chou only to be returned by the Taipei District Prosecutors office (台北地方法院檢查署). HouseFun News (好房新聞) cited sources familiar with Sinyi to report that Sinyi sacked a super salesman overnight after 18 years of working for the company since he was found to be a brother of Yeh Ling-chi.

Chou Chun-chi suspected that the super salesman in fact was going undercover for his brother, thus accusing Yeh of trade secret theft.

While demanding justice and a public apology, Yeh yesterday told local media that Yung-ching filed for a case of malicious accusation to restore the reputation of his company and clear the name of his family.

Sinyi shares yesterday dipped NT$0.05, or 0.13 percent, to close at NT$38.85.

MediaTek Shrugs Off Concern

The Central News Agency (CNA) reported that shares of MediaTek, one of Taiwan's leading integrated circuit designers, closed up NT$9 or 1.84 percent at NT$498.5 despite news that 10 former MediaTek employees may have been involved in the covert misappropriation of trade secrets.

A former employee was released on bail of NT$200,000 yesterday, CNA reported.

During the probe, the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office said, it found that the former employee, surnamed Lu, was involved in the alleged stealing of confidential information from MediaTek.

On Tuesday, prosecutors launched a raid on the residences of the 10 former MediaTek employees, including an engineer surnamed Cheng, and questioned them while searching an office of the Hong Kong-registered company where they currently work.

Local media reported that the Hong Kong company, which paid high salaries to lure the former MediaTek workers, may be serving as a bridge between them and a China-based high-tech firm.

MediaTek spokesman David Ku (顧大維) yesterday told CNA that his company discovered that the former employees were involved in stealing business secrets and reported the behavior to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, which opened the investigation.

Although Ku declined to reveal any further details related to the case, he said the theft of trade secrets and the investigation are unlikely to affect MediaTek's operations.

Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su agreed.

“The ongoing investigation into the alleged trade secrets theft case is expected to help MediaTek reinforce its efforts to protect its confidential business information,” Su said.

“To me, the actions taken by prosecutors and police will not hurt MediaTek at all but will actually benefit it in the long term,” he added.

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