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TSMC engineer accused of stealing trade secrets behind 28nm GPU tech used by Nvidia and AMD

It looks like there have been some interesting developments behind the scenes in the tech industry this week, as a former engineer at TSMC has been accused of stealing trade secrets. TSMC has been a supplier for GPUs made by both AMD and Nvidia over the years and yesterday, one of its engineers was arrested and charged with stealing trade secrets and selling them to a rival business.

Previously, the Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) was chosen as the sole supplier of 28nm graphics chips for both AMD and Nvidia. TSMC continues to work with Nvidia with 16nm FinFET for the GTX 10-series but AMD has since moved on to GlobalFoundries for its Polaris GPUs and Ryzen CPUs. Due to these long-standing relationships, TSMC holds a lot of information about the inner workings of past GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.

Now according to a report from DigiTimes, an engineer from TSMC has been accused of taking proprietary information and materials related to TSMC’s 28nm process and selling it to the Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Company (HLMC), a rival business. The engineer in question has a job lined up at HLMC but was arrested by prosecutors before being able to start.

Apparently, various China-based chipmakers have been attempting to poach talent from Taiwanese based fab and DRAM companies, so this could be an ongoing problem.

KitGuru Says: This marks the second time this year that corporate espionage has snuck into tech news. Though I do wonder why this engineer was targeting 28nm information when we have moved well beyond that at this point.

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