Wed, May 03, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Ex-TSMC engineer stole trade secrets: prosecutors

ESPIONAGE:Prosecutors said the man visited Chinese firm HLMC in December last year, where it is alleged he leveraged stolen documents and accepted a job offer

Staff writer, with CNA

A former engineer at the world’s largest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), was yesterday charged with stealing trade secrets.

The Hsinchu District Prosecutors’ Office charged the engineer, surnamed Hsu (徐), with breach of trust, as well as violation of the Trade Secrets Act (營業秘密法) for allegedly attempting to use 28-nanometer process technology at a Chinese company.

TSMC, the world’s largest pure foundry operator, said the engineer tendered his resignation in January, but before leaving it was discovered that he had made copies of company documents related to 28-nanometer process technology.

The technology features high performance and low power consumption, plus seamless integration with the company’s 28-nanometer design ecosystem to enable faster time-to-market operations.

After being confronted by company officials, Hsu allegedly admitted to the theft and the copied documents were recovered by the company.

Having violated the Trade Secrets Act and the terms of his TSMC contract, Hsu was fired and the case was turned over to police, prosecutors said.

Hsinchu prosecutors said the engineer visited Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Corp (HLMC, 華力微) in December last year, where it is alleged he leveraged the documents stolen from TSMC and accepted a job at the Chinese company.

TSMC said it would officially notify HLMC that if it is found using any stolen trade secrets the Taiwanese company would take legal action against it.

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