South Korea, which sees the semiconductor industry as a key national technology, has not forgiven former Samsung employees. Seven people who leaked chip secrets to China were sentenced to prison.
Since the leading countries of the world see semiconductor technologies and the related sector as a matter of national security, they attach great importance to privacy in this area. Therefore, the states that have a say in this industry have taken serious measures to strictly protect the technologies they have.
However, some undesirable events may occur. Seven former employees of Samsung’s subsidiary SEMES were convicted of illegally obtaining and transferring semiconductor-related technologies to Chinese companies. Although little is known about the details of the process, there is some information that will shed light on the main lines of the subject.
It was discovered in 2020 that these people stole trade secrets. The verdict of conviction was given on Monday, February 20. A former researcher working for SEMES has reportedly been sentenced to four years in prison for illegally obtaining the company’s technology for semiconductor cleaning equipment. He used this knowledge to manufacture similar equipment for export to China. The company founded by the researcher was fined $768,000.
Seen as Key National Technology
Six other former SEMES employees were also found guilty of involvement in technology theft and sentenced to up to two and a half years in prison. In the court decision, it was stated that if lighter penalties are applied to such crimes, companies will lose their motivation to spend resources and time on technology development.
Based on the information they stole, they drafted 24 semiconductor cleaning equipment and sold 14 cleaning machines, with a total value of approximately $59.8 million, to anonymous rival Chinese companies and a Chinese research institute. Let us remind you that South Korea considers the semiconductor industry a “key national technology”.