Five HTC designers including VP of Product Design Thomas Chien, R&D Director Wu Chien Hung, and Senior Manager of the design team Justin Huang (who sketched the HTC One's iconic design) have been interrogated and arrested under suspicion of expense fraud and stealing trade secrets following a complaint from HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang.

Chien, Wu, and Huang had planned on setting up a new design company focused on the Chinese market, intending to resign after receiving mid-year bonuses yesterday. Chien and Wu, according to Engadget, are in custody, while the others were released on bail.

Chairwoman Wang's original complaint related to Chien having been caught downloading sensitive information related to the yet-unannounced Sense 6.0 interface and sharing it through email, though Chien, Wu, and Huang had evidently been involved in falsely claiming commission fees of over $334,000 USD by invoicing HTC for the One's aluminum design through an external firm, while the work was actually done in house.

In a statement to Engadget, HTC had the following to say.

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. As this matter is currently under investigation by the relevant authorities, we therefore refrain from further comments.

Obviously, the investigation is still under way. What will become of the accused designers is still up in the air, but things don't look good for their planned design house, currently registered under the name Xiaoyu.

Source: China Times, UDN (1, 2) via Engadget

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    HTC is going to sue their ass.

    • http://www.deanlubaki.com/ Dean Lubaki

      And make some money!

      • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

        Well, get back their money more like, they weren't cheap to employ

    • Paul

      There's a quote I once heard. "You can't get blood from a stone" Seriously, how much can a big corporation recuperate from 5 people? Even if they were very well paid (by HTC) I don't expect they could recoup more than a million or two from them. It's the damage to their name, the loss of 5 core designers, etc. etc. that's really going to hurt them.

  • http://www.deanlubaki.com/ Dean Lubaki

    It's sad to see a company like HTC fall down like that! :(
    They try to innovate, and people are stealing their work!

    I hope they're going to sue them!

  • hp420

    Oh wow....what was the secret?? How much bloatware there will be in sense 6? How much lag it will have? How much HTC will report in financial losses after the release?

    • SpoorthyVemula

      I don't think you've ever looked at sense 5...

      • Di Lu

        My only beef with Sense 5 is that third party launchers can't use its transparent notification bar, even GS4's Touchwiz allows that.

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          Somehow I don't think HTC cared about that.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Nope. He never even looked at Sense 5.

    • Luke

      Never used Sense eh? Especially not Sense 5 which is blazing fast. And you don't understand the definition of bloatware.

  • Toron James

    HTC innovated with HTC one hardware department , from a software point of view Blinkfeed and HTC one panorama UI are clear mimics of Microsoft's Windows Phone live Tile approach to the homecreen user interface.

    • AHWH

      Hmm...in terms of appearance of Blinkfeed I give it to you. Can't say much about function though, at least HTC's blinkfeed tiles are constantly updated. My Lumia 520's battery tile is still displaying 100% battery when the phone is begging me to charge it.

      And panorama is in Sense 3.5 (Android 2.3).

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      I don't think they went after Microsoft with Blink feed it's pretty much a Flip board mimic (not a good one) all those type of readers have a similar interface.

      Other than that though Sense 5 was a job well done. A lot more refined and smooth as silk after months. Can't say that about any previous HTC device

      • Luke

        Blinkfeed destroys the shitty ass flipboard.

        • drksilenc

          hardly i detest blinkfeed

          • Weston

            Because your a dumb ass

    • Luke

      Blinkfeed is nothing like Metro. And it is awesome and useful for news updates. If you actually used it you would know. And HTC'S panorama UI was around long before Windows you pathetic dumb ass.

      • someone755

        "News updates" Yeah lol as if those idiots from Facebook have any news worth sharing...

        • Weston

          Hey twat you do know tat Blinkfeed does more than facebook right? I get news updates from the Associated Press, Huffington Post, Reuters, IBT, BBC, Te Guardian . Get tech news updates from CNET, Engadget, Phonedog,Gizmodo, VentureBeat, The Verge, IGN. Try educating yourself before making dumb comments you little bitch

          • someone755

            I know, I was being sarcastic...
            No need to get rude on me, kind (or rather not at all) sir.
            Get a brain to understand sarcasm before calling somebody a bitch.

  • dilharo

    Samsung will be very happy if their employees steal touchwiz shit

    • someone755

      Lol TW is so bad, if somebody stole it, nobody would want to take it from them xD

      • Paul

        Have you used Touchwiz? I had the same sentiments as you until I got my Galaxy S2. At first TW was annoying, but updates came and they toned it down greatly. It wasn't very obtrusive and it added useful features. It's not nearly as resource hogging/O.S modifying as SenseUI or MotoBlur. Now I have the Note 2 and Touchwiz has been customized to support the S-Pen, useful features, and the cool Multi-Window feature. There are a very healthy amount of custom ROM's for my phone that are Stock based, with Touchwiz. If Touchwiz sucked so much there wouldn't be a large group of developers creating ROM's and keeping touchwiz in it, all the custom ROM's would be AOSP based. I run CleanRom and SkyNote for my Galaxy Note 2 because of TW and it's superior support for my particular phone.

        • Freak4Dell

          Sense may have been heavy in the past, but Sense 5 is slim and fast. Motoblur hasn't existed for quite some time, and Motorola's skin now consists of merely changing some icons.

          TouchWiz is terrible, bug-ridden software that sucks up a ridiculous amount of resources. It gets worse with every update, not better.

        • someone755

          Number one: Your phone isn't a phone. It's a tablet. Deal with it.
          Number two: Touchwiz MIGHT have been good on small displays and hardware that wasn't really that good, compared to today's. But now, they just push in shit, most of it can't even be fixed with duct tape.
          And you know what can be fixed with duct tape.

  • SpoorthyVemula

    Well, hopefully the only reason they stole sense 6.0 secrets is because it was so good that it was incredibly valuable...hopefully.

    • Paul

      I haven't seen/used SenseUI in a while admittedly, but is it still comprised of 20 or 30 something APK's? Is it still a heavy heavy framework that's resource intensive on the phone? Touchwiz is very lightweight now that I don't feel it harms my experience in any way, it's "Stock" enhanced. SenseUI has always been a complete rebuild of the stock interface.

      • waldomarek

        actually, you should try sense 5, it blows touchwiz out of the water. touchwiz is now actually heavier than sense and sense remains way better looking than touchwiz.

  • PradaMir

    HTC doesn't deserve this BS, I think a lot of people fail to realize HTC opened doors for Apple and Samsung if it wasn't for HTC the first Touchscreen and wireless cell phone wouldnt even have came when it did let alone the fact HTC made the first ever Android phone and 4g phone. I just think people don't give HTC enough credit they definitely have earned there spot in this industry nomattter how there finances are.

    • Paul

      I've been using HTC phones way way before Apple iPhone and such. I used to carry two phones on me, an HTC Phone running Windows Mobile, and a Nokia phone running Symbian. Pro's and Con's to each phone/OS, so I chose both. I was using smart phones before they were cool. HTC paved a way for so much of today and you're right, it's sad to see them get knocked down like this. But they obviously did make mistakes, big ones, that allowed people like Samsung to overtake them. If they were there first, kicking ass and taking names, there would have been no room/market for Samsung, but HTC made some bad phones and bad choices at times and they're getting killed now. I really do hope they recover and keep making quality phones equal if not better to the HTC One.

  • Paul

    Between top executives leaving and sending messages to their coworkers that they should get while the gettings good, and now this, HTC is in serious trouble. Sad really, I've been using HTC way before smartphones were cool, back in the Windows Mobile 5.5/6/6.5 days. I have respect for HTC but they seem like they're in for a bumpy (ier) ride.