ASML, a major computer chip equipment manufacturer, claims that a former employee in China stole proprietary information about its technology.
The Dutch firm claims to have reported the breach to authorities in the Netherlands and the United States.
The company did, however, add that it does not “believe that the misappropriation is material to our business.”
ASML is a significant player in the global microchip supply chain. It creates machines that produce the most advanced chips in the world.
Chips, or semiconductors, are at the heart of a bitter dispute between the United States and China, and are used to power everything from mobile phones to military hardware.
“We have experienced unauthorised misappropriation of proprietary technology data by a (now) former employee in China,” ASML reported in its most recent annual report.
“Certain export control regulations may have been violated as a result of the security incident. In light of this incident, we are taking additional corrective actions “It went on to say.
ASML did not provide any additional information about the employee or the technology involved. The company did not respond right away.
This is not the first time ASML has linked a breach of intellectual property (IP) to China.
In its 2021 annual report, the company stated that it was aware of reports that DongFang JingYuan Electron, a Chinese semiconductor equipment and software maker, “was actively marketing products in China that could potentially infringe on ASML’s IP rights.”
The allegations were denied by DongFang JingYuan Electron.
The Beijing-based company said the reports were “inconsistent with the facts” at the time.