back to article Dutch chip equipment maker denies trade secrets theft was Chinese espionage

Netherlands-based ASML, which makes semiconductor manufacturing equipment, on Thursday insisted that it had not been the target of Chinese espionage, despite the fact that six former employees with Chinese names breached their contracts by sharing trade secrets with a competitor linked to the Chinese government. “The …

  1. _LC_ Silver badge

    Let me get this narrative straight

    So the victims of the crime are lying? Hmmm...

    "The facts of the matter are that we were robbed by a handful of our own employees based in Silicon Valley, who had broken the law to enrich themselves. All of this occurred several years ago."

    This actually makes a lot of sense to me. Stop spreading that propaganda bullshit, please. ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me get this narrative straight

      Pretty sure that's corporate espionage. i.e. an insider transferring trade secrets from one company to another.

      But "a couple of employees wanting to sell corporate secrets to a third party for their own enrichment" and finding or not realizing the buyer is a Chinese government agency sounds much less dramatic.

    2. devTrail

      Re: Let me get this narrative straight

      I agree, the journalist pretend to be oblivious to the most important question. Cui prodest? (Who benefits from it?).

      The semiconductor industry based in Taiwan, South Korea and China is actually a low margin outsourcing business doing the dirty work for the Silicon Valley. It seems that now they are fulfilling their role even as scapegoats.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, all six people indicted are Chinese nationals and the trade secrets went back to a Chinese company, purportedly with ties to the Chinese gov. I wonder how many of those six would have family, maybe parents, whose livelihood depends on employment/pension through or from the Chinese gov or even the company involved. It is important to remember that China does not operate under rule of law* and that this would be technology that Chinese gov would love to have. It is also important to consider that China and its companies may be the victim company's biggest source of income and now that they have the intellectual property they can stop buying from the victim company immediately, but that would be suspicious.

    What we don't know is what, if any, pressure from outside sources was put upon any of those indicted. On the other hand we don't know that there was any. We are unlikely to know either way.

    * It could be reasonably argued that we westerners don't really operate under rule of law either, especially as governmental spying expands.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      No, NOT all six where Chinese nationals and not all funding for the company came from China. RTFA.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You are correct, my apologies, not all six are Chinese nationals. So, then what would be an incentive for those involved to take said action? Surely, they'd understand there would be real and severe legal consequences for their action if caught. Aside from their action being morally bankrupt. I know the whole morally bankrupt thing sounds old fashioned in the present global political climate.

  3. Trollslayer

    Walks like China

    Quacks like China.

  4. DCFusor

    Things do move on

    As I've said here before (not always a popular sentiment to those with the ghetto lottery mentality*) - if you're the goose laying the golden eggs, having one stolen is just that - one egg. You can make more, continue to innovate, and win, especially if the competition is dependent on stolen IP in the first place - they'll always be later to the party and with less - and time to market is what wins more often than not. Sometimes you just have to deserve your continued success, despite what is often wished by those who only ever got lucky with a single idea.

    *My name for the idea that one big score sets you up for life. This isn't true even for the "creative" types - musicians, actors, writers - and a host of less glamorous creative occupations like engineering that some (myself) think might do more value creation. Name one who did just one good thing and that was it, who was "set up" after that! All of them had to keep producing some sort of value, a few were overpaid, most were underpaid and someone skimmed the difference (as in most big companies, tech very much included). I think it's an unrealistic expectation, though one that seems to be very attractive to people who think they should be able to just cruise while everyone else works, and that waiting for that magic lottery win while doing nothing else of actual value is morally OK. Yeah, right.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Those Chinese, always spying on their economic foes, how dare they.

    Can't they just spy on their friends, like the US does?

    Yes, I'll happily continue whatabouting, because:

    - I'm fscking /tired/ of the Americans whining that others do not even 1% of what they've been doing themselves, and then threatening their allies over it;

    - I'm equally tired of most of the press happily repeating the Chinese scare without giving much of a context. "Ties with the Chinese government"? WTF does that even /mean/? Are they under direct control? Are they following local laws? Is there the cousin of an apparatchik working there as a janitor?

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