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Applied Materials, Chinese rival face legal battle
EE Times ^ | December 25, 2007

Posted on 12/26/2007 9:04:24 PM PST by nwrep

Applied Materials Inc. and Chinese fab-tool rival Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC) have agreed to disagree over a confidentially motion filed as part of a bitter legal battle between the two companies.

Applied Materials (Santa Clara, Calif.) seeks to prove its suit against AMEC (Shanghai) by providing a confidential "trade-secret list" to select employees from the Chinese IC-equipment supplier. In a document filed in December of 2007, Applied Materials claims AMEC is resisting the move, thereby delaying the motion.

The motion is part of a suit filed by Applied Materials against China's AMEC in October of 2007. Applied's suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California here, claims that AMEC is allegedly involved in misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract and unfair competition.

The co-defendants in the suit include several AMEC executives and former employees at Applied Materials: Gerald Yin, Aihua Chen, Ryoji Todaka and Lee Luo. In fact, the suit contends that 30 former Applied engineers now work at AMEC.

Founded in 2004, AMEC recently outlined its strategy. The company has entered the etch and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) markets, thereby putting itself in direct competition with Applied, Lam, TEL and others.

Founded in 1967 in California's Silicon Valley, Applied Materials creates and commercializes the nanomanufacturing technology and equipment that helps produce virtually every semiconductor chip and flat panel displays in the world. The company recently entered the market for equipment to produce solar arrays and energy efficient glass.

The co-defendants in the case were said to have worked at Applied at one time and had "access to highly sensitive Applied trade secrets" involving etch and CVD, according to the suit. "Defendants willfully breached multiple duties to Applied by transferring and converting Applied inventions and trade secrets to AMEC."

Yin is chairman and CEO of AMEC. At Applied, he held various positions from 1991 to 2004, including general manager of the etch products group, according to the suit.

In 2004, Yin resigned from Applied and moved to China. At that time, he and Chen co-founded AMEC. Chen, who is executive vice president at AMEC, held a number of roles at Applied, including general manager of the CVD products group, according to the suit.

In 2005, AMEC filed a patent in China, dubbed "Method and Apparatus for Processing Semiconductor Work Pieces." The patent number is 200510028563.2 or Chinese patent No. '563, according to the suit.

AMEC filed that patent in Japan and the United States, which are known as No. 2006-214829 (Japanese '829) and 11/441,291 (U.S. '291), respectively, according to the suit.

"The information disclosed in these patent applications include Applied confidential information, including Applied trade secrets," according to the suit. "AMEC has also misappropriated other Applied confidential information and trade secrets."

Applied is seeking damages in the suit. In the latest filing, issued on Dec. 21, Applied and AMEC are supposed to agree to a "stipulated protective order to govern documents produced in discovery."

The two companies cannot agree "as to whom and under what circumstances Applied's trade secret list can be shown," according to court documents. A hearing is expected to take place in January.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Technical

1 posted on 12/26/2007 9:04:25 PM PST by nwrep
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To: ShadowAce


2 posted on 12/26/2007 9:05:30 PM PST by nwrep
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To: nwrep

Tip of the technology transfer iceberg.

3 posted on 12/26/2007 9:14:12 PM PST by OCC
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To: nwrep

LMAO .. who is surprised?

4 posted on 12/26/2007 9:30:37 PM PST by enduserindy (I might be going to hell in a bucket but.......crap.)
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To: enduserindy

Apparently the bozos at AMAT who had 2, not one but TWO, Chinese Managers overseeing their two biggest revenue divisions, i.e. etch and CVD.

5 posted on 12/26/2007 9:38:38 PM PST by nwrep
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To: nwrep; zencat

So how long before the Consumer Products Safety Commission starts warning us about Chinese IC chips

Doped with LEAD ?!?!?

6 posted on 12/26/2007 9:41:02 PM PST by GravityFree (Death is not the end, nor the beginning of the end, but only the end of the beginning.)
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To: nwrep

“free trade”

7 posted on 12/26/2007 9:46:52 PM PST by hedgetrimmer (I'm a billionaire! Thanks WTO and the "free trade" system!--Hu Jintao top 10 worst dictators)
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To: GravityFree

Good one, but the wafer are already doped with Arsenic and Phosphorus.

8 posted on 12/26/2007 10:08:33 PM PST by nwrep
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To: nwrep
"30 former Applied engineers now work at AMEC"

AMEC is well funded, having obtained funding from Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm and Samsung, among others. Total funding is $111M, with an additional $90M available, according to company chairman and CEO, Gerald Yin.

AMEC Enters Etch, HPCVD Tool Markets

9 posted on 12/26/2007 11:09:39 PM PST by endthematrix (He was shouting 'Allah!' but I didn't hear that. It just sounded like a lot of crap to me.)
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

10 posted on 12/27/2007 12:32:47 PM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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