A Chinese court has sentenced three people to prison for stealing commercial secrets regarding Apple's iPad 2 from a main supplier in Taiwan.
The Shenzhen Bao'an People Court said that the head of a Chinese electronics-accessories maker paid a former employee and a then-active worker at Hon Hai Precision Industry for information months ahead of the release in order to produce protective cases for the iPad 2.
The three were fined and sentenced to prison terms on Tuesday ranging from 12 to 18 months for stealing commercial secretes valued at about two million yuan ($294,000), the court said via Sina's Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service in China.
A Hon Hai spokesman said the company respected the ruling of the court and had no further comment.
Hon Hai, a unit of Foxconn Technology Group, makes the iPad 2 and other gadgets for Apple in its factories in mainland China.
The court said that in July 2010, Shenzhen MacTop Electronics' general manager Xiao Chengsong bribed former Hon Hai employee Hou Pengna for information about iPad 2.
Hou then paid Lin Kecheng, a Hon Hai research and development employee, to get digital images of the device's back cover last September, half a year before the iPad 2 was officially released.
Xiao was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and fined 150,000 yuan ($22,000). Lin was sentenced to 14 months and fined 100,000 yuan while Hou was sentenced to a year in prison and fined 30,000 yuan, according to the court.
(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Robert Birsel)