A former employee of chip designer Broadcom was sentenced this week to eight months in prison by a federal district court judge after pleading guilty to charges of stealing trade secrets in May, according to an announcement from the prosecutor’s office. American from the Northern District of California. .
Peter Kisang Kim, who worked for Broadcom as a lead design engineer for more than 20 years, quit his job in July 2020 and, after less than two weeks, took a job at a startup based in the People’s Republic of China. In pleading guilty, Kim admitted to accessing Broadcom’s trade secret information related to the testing and design of the company’s Trident family of chipsets, which are designed for use in network switches and network equipment based on the cloud.
In his plea agreement, Kim admitted to accessing proprietary Broadcom information stored on his smartphone and laptop as part of his employment with the Chinese company, which he copied to his personal devices shortly before quitting. Broadcom. He also admitted to gaining access to the information during his employment with the startup PRC, which Kim said in his plea agreement was seeking to compete with Broadcom in China’s domestic market and hoped to become one of the leading designers of chips in this country.
Kim was indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in November 2021 and charged with 18 counts of theft of trade secrets, 18 USC § 1832(a). Each count could have carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of probation. He was released on $500,000 bond after his first court appearance. Kim ultimately pleaded guilty to three of the 18 counts.
Criminal actions in trade secret cases have become commonplace in recent years. In August, a former Apple engineer, Xiaolang Zhang, also pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets involving Apple’s self-driving car program, and is expected to be sentenced in November. Zhang was arrested in 2018 at San Jose International Airport, before he could board a flight to Beijing. Jizhong Chen was also arrested for stealing trade secrets under the scheme and has so far pleaded not guilty.
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