Dutch chipmaker ASML had its trade secrets stolen by employees who passed them onto its Chinese competitor XTAL Inc., a company with links to the Chinese regime, according to an April 11 report by Dutch newspaper Financieele Dagblad (FD).
The theft, which occurred in 2015 and has been confirmed by ASML, was the subject of a California court case, which resulted in XTAL being ordered to pay $223 million in damages to ASML in late 2018. XTAL filed for bankruptcy shortly afterward.
ASML is the leading maker of lithography systems, used to trace the circularity of semiconductor chips. Such chips are used to power nearly every electronic device.
According to FD, the theft was orchestrated by XTAL and committed by high-level research and development employees at ASML’s Silicon Valley software subsidiary. The employees transferred source code, software, and pricing strategies onto thumb drives and passed them on to XTAL. Court documents showed that six former