Four Silicon Valley engineers have been charged with trying to steal trade secrets from the semiconductor equipment company to sell them to a Chinese startup.
The report says the men were the employees of semiconductor company Applied Materials Inc. of Santa Clara.
The four U.S. chip executives- Liang Chen, Wei-Yung Hsu, Robert Ewald, and Donald Olgado are charged by the U.S. Department of Justice of stealing information from Applied’s internal engineering database, including more than 16,000 drawings, and planning to use that information in a competing startup based in the U.S. and China.
In a statement on Wednesday, U.S. prosecutors said the engineers’ plans was to try to recruit investors to fund the startup based between the U.S. and China and use the technology in a new company.
The stolen trade secrets were included Applied’s processes for high-volume manufacturing of chips used to light and electrify flat-screen TVs and smartphones.
The four men are ordered to be prosecuted on Dec. 15 in San Jose, California.
Company spokesman Ricky Gradwohl said in a statement, “We support the legal action in this criminal case to ensure that anyone who obtained our trade secrets illegally is brought to justice. We cannot comment further on pending legal actions.”
If the men found guilty, they will face up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each charge.
Now regulators have blocked the china because of the domestic companies’ demands and China-related entities’ attempts to acquire U.S. chip companies.