Chinese government implicated in tech theft at ASML (update)

Paul van Gerven
Leestijd: 3 minuten

Former ASML Brion employees reportedly funneled ASML technology to a state-sponsored Chinese company. True or not – ASML denies government involvement – the incident highlights the company’s awkward position, as protection of its intellectual property is crucial, while the Chinese market is growing too fast to ignore.

Corporate secrets stolen from ASML Brion likely ended up at a Chinese state-sponsored company, reports Het Financieele Dagblad (link in Dutch). The newspaper uncovered that the California-based company convicted of the theft, XTAL, is a subsidiary of Beijing-based Dongfang Jingyuan, which has ties to the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. The former ASML Brion employees who started XTAL also founded Dongfang, claims FD, citing court documents.

XTAL, like Dongfang, offers IC design and manufacturing optimization services. It was founded in 2014 by two former ASML employees, who worked with two former colleagues still at Brion to steal confidential technology. XTAL subsequently managed to quickly lure a number of semiconductor companies away from ASML, which prompted the Dutch lithography equipment vendor to start an investigation.

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