SAN JOSE — Peter Kisang Kim, a former Broadcom Inc. engineer, was sentenced today to eight months in prison for trade secret theft involving Broadcom trade secrets, U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and the FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan. The sentence was handed down by the Hon. Beth Labson Freeman, United States District Judge.
Kim, 51, a resident of Ben Lomond, pleaded guilty to the crimes on May 10, 2022. According to documents filed in the case, Broadcom is headquartered in San Jose and its products include network chips used in equipment sold worldwide, including for businesses. and data center networking. As of July 2020, Kim had been employed by Broadcom for over twenty years and worked as a senior design engineer at the company. He worked on various Broadcom products during his time with the company, including the Trident family of chips frequently used in high-volume data centers.
Kim resigned from Broadcom effective July 17, 2020, and in the days leading up to his departure from Broadcom, Kim copied over 500 Broadcom files from its document repository system. In pleading for trade secret theft, he admitted to owning Broadcom trade secrets related to the Trident family of chips, including those contained in test plans, design verification environment files, and design specifications. . He admitted that he knowingly possessed Broadcom’s trade secrets, knowing that he had taken them from Broadcom. He also acknowledged that Broadcom had taken reasonable steps to keep Broadcom’s trade secrets secret, including storing trade secrets in non-public document repositories where access permissions were restricted, requiring non-disclosure agreements. appropriate disclosures are signed before trade secrets can be shared. outside of Broadcom, and given the confidentiality agreements Kim has signed with Broadcom and the annual trainings he has received, among other things.
Less than two weeks after leaving Broadcom, Kim began working as a director of IC design verification for a startup based in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). Kim acknowledged in his plea agreement that the company was looking to become a leading chip designer focused on the domestic PRC market for network chips at the time. During Kim’s employment at his new company, Kim repeatedly viewed and referenced Broadcom trade secrets on his personal electronic devices as well as the laptop provided by his new employer, as he admitted in his plea agreement. Additionally, Kim reviewed Broadcom trade secrets on her company-provided laptop while working on verification, test plan, and architecture documents for her new employer.
Kim admitted in his plea agreement that, having taken Broadcom’s trade secrets for reference, he knew having them could improve the quality of his work as an employee for his new employer and therefore economically benefit the company. ‘company. Kim also admitted he knew his actions could harm Broadcom, particularly because his new employer was seeking to become a competitor of Broadcom by developing competing products overseas.
On November 4, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Kim on eighteen counts of theft of trade secrets associated with Broadcom. Pursuant to his plea agreement, Kim pleaded guilty to three counts. Per the terms of his plea agreement, the remaining charges were today dismissed as part of his sentencing.
In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Freeman imposed a three-year sentence of supervised release on Kim after incarceration, restitution to victim Broadcom and a fine.
The cases were prosecuted by US Assistant Attorneys Eric Cheng and Kyle Waldinger of the US Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Section for the Northern District of California, with assistance from Margoth Turcios, Kathy Tat and Megan Pagaduan. The lawsuits are the result of investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.