CALL US: 206.533.3854
CALL US  206.533.3854
AEON Law logo full color transparent
Public Domain,

Jury Awards $230 Million in Trade Secret Theft Case

Big jury award
For lithography secrets;
Costs are included

A jury in California awarded the US branch of ASML, a Dutch semiconductor company, $233 million in damages after a rival company, XTAL, was found to have misappropriated its trade secrets.

According to The Register,

XTAL was founded by two semiconductor veterans who had worked at Brion Technologies when it was acquired in 2007 by ASML and subsequently left and set up their own company. XTAL specializes in enhancing chip yields during manufacture, designing semiconductors, and similar consultation work.

ASML alleged that XTAL pushed ASML’s employees to steal ASML’s trade secrets and secretly work for XTAL.

Two ASML employees left the company and went to work for XTAL. ASML told the jury at trial that those employees were working for XTAL while they were still on the ASML payroll.

The former employees were accused of copying ASML trade secrets onto external storage devices and failing to return them to their former employer when they left the company.

ASML became suspicious when it lost a contract with a key customer and XTAL entered the market with its own lithography technology, developed at an “astonishing” rate.

Brion is a leader in computational lithography. According to the Recorder,

Computational lithography uses computer models to predict and simulate how microscopic chip patterns will print on physical wafers. 

When the court ordered XTAL to hand over its computer equipment to be searched, information on lithography technology that ASML had acquired from Brion was found.

Former ASML employees were also accused of taking source code, programming language scripts, and business information to XTAL.

The award included $1.2 million for the plaintiff’s investigation expenses.

Under California’s computer fraud statute (Penal Code Section 502), in addition to any other remedies, the owner of a network or data lost or damaged by someone in violation of the statue can recover the costs of investigation.

Related Articles

Supreme Court: No Time Limit on Monetary Recovery in Copyright Cases

The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Sherman Nealy, a record producer who sued Warner Music for copyright infringement over a 2008 song by ...
Read More

Patent Office Requests Public Comment on AI Prior Art

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published a request for comment (RFC) on “how AI could affect evaluations of how the level of ordinary skills ...
Read More

FTC Bans Employee Non-Compete Agreements

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has voted to approve a proposed rule that would ban employers from using non-compete agreements with nearly all employees. The ...
Read More

Let's work together.

Contact us to set up a meeting with an attorney or team member.

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive Patent Poetry—a monthly roundup of key IP issues in our signature haiku format. Four articles (only 68 syllables); zero hassle.



Artificial Intelligence

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Computer Technology & Software

Consumer Electronics

Electrical Devices



Mechanical Devices

Consumer & Retail Products

Hardware & Tools

Toys & Games



Chemical Compounds

Digital Health

Healthcare Products



Books & Publications

Brand Creation

Luxury Products

Photography & Video

Product Design