Top Via execs indicted for industrial espionage

The chairman and the chief executive officer of Via Technologies, a supplier of PC chipsets and other semiconductors, have been...

The chairman and the chief executive officer of Via Technologies, a supplier of PC chipsets and other semiconductors, have been accused of copyright infringement and industrial espionage.

The Taipei District Public Prosecutors Office has prepared an indictment that accuses Via president and chief executive officer Wenchi Chen and his wife, Via chairman Cher Wang, as well as Via engineer Jeffrey Chang, of copyright infringement and industrial espionage, said Richard Brown, the company's associate vice-president of marketing.

"We haven't received the indictment yet and there have been conflicting reports about what it actually involves," Brown said. "The indictment should come in the mail over the next couple of days."

As far as Via has been able to ascertain, the charges levelled against Chen, Wang and Chang in the indictment allege that the three conspired and stole technology from one of Via's customers, networking equipment supplier D-Link. The prosecutor has asked for a four-year jail term for Wang and Chen and a three-year sentence for Chang.

In a statement, D-Link said that, "The circumstances of this matter do not have [an] immediate impact on D-Link's operations. D-Link is evaluating the impact on the value of the technologies involved in this matter."

This is not the first time that Via has been embroiled in allegations of stolen intellectual property.

The company is being sued by Taiwanese optical chip supplier Mediatek, which has accused Via of gaining improper access to Mediatek technology and copying code used in its optical disc controller firmware.

Sumner Lemon writes for IDG News Service

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