ASML Wins $845 Million Trade-Theft Case Against Bankrupt XTAL

(Bloomberg) -- ASML Holding NV won a case involving the theft of trade secrets against XTAL Inc. in a U.S. court and will take ownership of a majority of the assets of the company, which is in bankruptcy.

A Santa Clara, California-based court in a final judgment awarded ASML $845 million as well as an injunction, the Dutch company said in a statement on Saturday. The verdict was a result of saved research and development costs by XTAL, due to the theft of trade secrets and inducing former employees to breach their contracts with ASML, it added.

Chief Executive Officer Peter Wennink was quizzed by shareholders during the general meeting last month for not disclosing the conflict with XTAL earlier after a newspaper report said Europe’s largest semiconductor equipment maker was a victim of Chinese espionage. Wennink denied the report and said ASML was robbed by a handful of its own employees based in Silicon Valley, who had broken the law to enrich themselves.

ASML Denies Report It Was a Victim of Chinese Espionage

Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad reported last month that internal documents from the Netherlands-based company were stolen by senior U.S.-based employees with indirect links to China. The revelation sparked outcries from shareholders and politicians for better protection of intellectual property.

“With this judgment, ASML demonstrates its commitment to protecting its intellectual property,” it said in Saturday’s release.

The judgment will be uncollectable as XTAL is in bankruptcy, but under a settlement arrangement ASML will end up owning most, if not all, of XTAL’s intellectual property through the bankruptcy process.

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