VIA brass tarnished in Taipei

— 8:33 AM on December 8, 2003

Top VIA Technologies officers could face prison time after being charged with IP theft by Taiwanese authorities. From the Dow Jones report:

VIA officials said Saturday that company chairwoman Cher Wang and her husband, president Wenchi Chen, face up to four years in prison, while Jeffrey Chang, a senior consultant at wholly owned subsidiary VIA Networking Technologies, Inc. could spend three years in jail if found guilty.

The prosecutors office has charged that Wang and Chen colluded to illegally obtain chip testing simulation software by sending Chang to work at Taiwan rival D-Link Corp. , which developed the coding.

The charges stem from the appearance of "software coding" on a public server used by VIA customers, originating from D-Link, a former employer of Wang:
In a press conference Saturday, VIA President Wenchi Chen denied the charges, calling the case a "misunderstanding."

Jerry Sun, special assistant to the president at VIA Networking, said D-Link officials found the coding on a public server used by VIA customers that "anyone has access to. Anyone could have uploaded that information ... we have no control over this."

"If we really had the intent to steal someone else's (IP), we wouldn't put it on a public server," he added.

But a key point of the evidence against VIA is that Chang was being paid by VIA while working at D-Link.

Sun said that Chang, who left VIA after a 5 1/2 year term, continued to receive his regular salary for three months after quitting due to an " administrative error." He didn't elaborate, nor would he divulge the amount of the salary.

Chang worked for D-Link for "less than two years" before returning to VIA in August of 2001, according to Sun.

"We invited him to come back" when VIA Networking spun off as a separate unit, he added.

Since this news broke over the weekend, details are scarce. We can expect to find out more once Taiwanese officials return to their offices.
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