Semiconductor shop Xtal hit with $223m trade secret theft fine | 12/3/2018 | Staff
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Silicon Valley semiconductor company XTAL has been hit with a $223m fine for stealing trade secrets from rival ASML.

The company was found guilty by a jury in Santa Clara County of pressuring ASML employees to hand over details of the Dutch company's source code, user manuals and image models.

XTAL - Semiconductor - Veterans - Brion - Technologies

XTAL was founded by two semiconductor veterans who had worked at Brion Technologies when it was acquired in 2007 by ASML but who subsequently left and set up their own company. XTAL specializes in yield enhancement, software optimization and hardware implementation.

ASML's American arm sued the company in 2016 saying that XTAL pushed its employees to steal trade secrets and secretly work for their rival. ASML became suspicious after it lost a contract with a key customer and XTAL entered the market for lithography technology, developing it at an astonishing rate, according to the lawsuit.

Year - XTAL - ASML - Employees - Company

A year after XTAL was created, two ASML employees left and joined the new company. ASML told the jury that XTAL had directed both employees to work for it in secret before they left, including carrying out technical work that was not approved by ASML and to help develop pricing and business strategies for the new technology.

The two employees were also accused of copying trade secrets from ASML/Brion onto external storage devices and failing to return them when they left their jobs to join XTAL. ASML said that information had...
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