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HTC designer indicted for leaking upcoming mobile interface

HTC's ex-lead designer has been indicted for leaking company secrets, as well as taking kickbacks from suppliers.

HTC's ex-lead designer has been indicted for leaking the company's upcoming icon designs to an outside party. It's thought he was planning on setting up a rival business with the person he leaked to.

Engadget reports that Thomas Chien leaked the designs, which were most probably from HTC's yet-to-be-released Sense 6.0 UI, by showing a presentation to his then-future business partner. The meeting took place in Beijing back in June.

Chien was HTC's vice president of product design. Along with five other HTC employees, he's reportedly also been charged with collectively receiving 33.57 million New Taiwan dollars (£680,000) by falsifying expenses and taking backhanders from suppliers.

The other perpetrators from HTC haven't been named, though Bill Hu (HTC's R&D director), and Justin Huang (its design team senior manager) were reported to be facing charges when the case first started back in August.

Most of the other perpetrators are reported to have admitted their wrongdoings, but Chien kept on defending himself and denying some of his crimes. As such, the court is advised to give him a heavy sentence for his "malignant" behaviour.

I've contacted HTC to see if it has any comment, and will update this story if I hear back. It declined to comment to The Verge, though a spokesperson said the company doesn't condone violations of integrity and ethics. It reissued the statement it gave back in August: "The company 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."

It's not been a vintage year for HTC. The company posted its first ever loss back in October. It also had some of its handsets banned in a court case with Nokia, though they're back on sale now.

What do you think of HTC's recent devices? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.