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Four Samsung Employees Indicted For Stealing Semiconductor Tech

Four current and former Samsung employees have been indicted for stealing semiconductor technology from the company. They reportedly stole highly valued information about semiconductor technologies from the Korean firm and leaked it to rival companies.

This concerns two separate cases of theft. The first case involves a former employee taking photos of confidential information related to Samsung’s chip fabrication technology. They were still employed with the Korean firm when the theft took place. The person was in the process of moving their job to Intel and was working from home at that time. They took photos of a computer file containing critical semiconductor information and shared the photos with Intel once they joined the American chipmaker.

We first heard reports of Samsung investigating this case in March of this year. Korean media reported that the person may have taken hundreds of photographs containing chip fabrication secrets of advanced semiconductors, including 3nm and 4nm chips. While there was no evidence of them sharing the information with rivals back then, the latest report confirms the former employee handed over the photos to Intel. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office has charged them with violating South Korea’s unfair competition prevention act and the industrial technology protection act.

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Three more Samsung employees have been charged with semiconductor tech theft

The other case involves one former Samsung employee obtaining confidential information from two current employees. The person worked in the semiconductor field and received an operation manual and a blueprint for the ultrapure water system from two of their former colleagues at Samsung Engineering. They may have also obtained additional key information. The former employee reportedly leaked the information to a Chinese semiconductor consulting firm.

This happened in August 2022 when the person was looking to find a new job at this Chinese company. After they landed the job, the former Samsung employee used the stolen materials and information to place an order for the ultrapure water system, Yonhap reports. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office charged all three persons involved in this case with the same violations. The four current and former Samsung employees have been sent for physical detention until further court proceedings.

The ultrapure water system purifies water used for cleansing in the semiconductor manufacturing process. It removes ions, organic matter, and microbes from water. Samsung has reportedly invested more than KRW 30 billion (approx. USD 21.2 million) every year since 2006 to develop the ultrapure water system.

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