According to Focus Taiwan, Taiwan-based IC designer MediaTek Inc. said Wednesday it will appeal a ruling handed down by a district court in Taipei on a trade secret leak case filed by the company.
In a verdict issued Monday, January 3rd, the Taipei District Court sentenced a former MediaTek employee surnamed Yang to nine months in prison that could be commuted to a fine of NT$270,000 (US$9,225) for leaking information to a MediaTek competitor.
What's interesting to us here at Womble Trade Secrets is not the punishment, but the hybrid nature of the verdict. It seems the civil case, brought by a private company, has resulted in a criminal sanction that can be satisfied by the payment of an seemingly insignificant fine. Maybe our confusion explains MediaTek's anger - clearly the court found the defendant to have misappropriated MediaTek's trade secrets.
MediaTek is reportedly appealing, contending that confidential business information is an IC designer's most important intangible asset, and if the law could not adequately protect companies' trade secrets and other intellectual property, the sector's survival would be threatened.