Three employees of Foxconn, which manufactures Apple products and other electronics, are said to have been charged for violating the company's trade secret agreement by allegedly leaking design details of Apple's iPad 2 ahead of its release.
Citing reporting from Chinese-language source Sznews, Digitimes says the three employees were arrested by local police in Shenzhen, China near the end of December of last year, and were formally charged last week.
The alleged leaks gave several accessory makers time to draw up designs ahead of the iPad 2's unveiling. While some of those designs did not match up to what Apple eventually unveiled on March 2, a handful nailed features like the cameras, rounded back, relocated speaker and microphone, and thinner enclosure.
Foxconn, which is part of Hon Hai Precision Industries, produces the iPhone, iPad, and MacBooks for Apple along with consumer electronics for other companies including, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Microsoft, Sony, and Samsung. The company employs more than a million workers in China, and is in talks with Brazil to expand its operations to South America as part of a reported $12 billion investment.
Following controversy over worker suicides at the manufacturer, Apple, Dell and HP began investigations into working conditions. Apple released its report based on audits of 127 facilities back in February. Foxconn has since raised worker wages, with Apple working to train workers and supervisors alike in worker rights, labor laws, and safety measures.