SAN FRANCISCO--Four engineers have been arrested by Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) for allegedly selling off Intel Corp. CPU samples on eBay for personal financial gain.
The CIB released a statement on Monday (Jan. 1) saying the four, confirmed to be engineers working for Intel's OEM manufacturers in Taiwan, had been apprehended in the city of Taoyuan.
Detectives had been tracking the suspects since September, conducting a raid on their homes last month, taking 178 sample CPUs – worth an estimated $82,500—into police custody.
According to the CIB’s statement, the suspects admitted to selling more than 500 Intel engineering sample CPUs since 2009.
The samples, of the sort usually sent out to OEM manufacturers before commercial releases, were beta version integrated circuits designed for compatibility qualification tests, the CIB said.
Engineering samples are the sole property of Intel and are produced and provided to Intel customers for product research and development purposes only. Intel’s customers are required to either return them to Intel or ensure that the engineering samples are destroyed.
Being engineering samples, the CPUs were sometimes of a rare type, said the CIB, making them all the more desirable to tinkerers looking for chips with unlocked multipliers.
The Taiwanese agency is now strongly urging people not to buy any more of the engineering sample CPUs online and reminded engineers thinking of running similar profit schemes that they could face up to five years in prison if caught.
How did the IP protection issue get mixed in here? These were just regular CPUs that didn't reveal any secrets; people bought them as discounted CPUs for their PCs; the whole point was that these were just like regular CPUs. It's a simple commercial theft case.
There was another case: an armed robbery of a large amount of flash memory. Again, IP theft and/or espionage was brought up---but it was just generic flash memory!
What is it with this knee-jerk reaction?
I appreciate the story as an awareness to all that chip samples are being misused by people who have no morals. The social and political discussions are useless. Theft is theft. It is wrong and should not be tolerated by anyone at any level. If any of your stuff were stolen and resold you would not be happy. You should always treat the property of others as if it were your own. That way you have no ambiquity in knowing what to do. Considering your theft justified under the "steal from the rich and give to the poor" attitude is wrong. Engineers are supposed to be professionals. Theft is not an engineering attribute.
Just my opinion.
Helpfulguy, you're a little obnoxious, don't you think? Your comment, as per usual, is uncalled for, rude, and cowardly (it's very easy to attack someone from behind a very "unhelpful" pseudonym). Clearly you have some sort of chip on your shoulder about me. Not sure what it is, but, I'm pretty sure you would never have the guts to use your foul language to my face. So enjoy using it from behind your screen, chuckling to yourself :) In my article it clearly says: "The CIB released a statement on Monday (Jan. 1) saying the four, confirmed to be engineers working for Intel's OEM manufacturers in Taiwan, had been apprehended in the city of Taoyuan." - Have a great weekend!
Hey Sylvie, it you are unclear, isn't it as a journalist you have to say so, rather than make assumption and say that they are Intel engineers? If you dont know, then shut the F*** Up. Dont call anyone by name! But, your summary on EETimes page, continues to say that they were Intel engineers. Why?
IT states 'working for Intel's OEM manufacturers' so they obviously were not Intel employees. Also, I periodically see ES parts on eBay here in the states, usually from sellers in Texas. As someone here mentioned, bad career move.
It is not surprising that it happened, it is surprising that Tiawan's officials bothered to investigate and arrest the thieves. Intel must have a lot of influence over there.
This is an excellent example of the result of US government interference in US business. The high price of government tax and regulation causes companies to send jobs overseas which in turn results in the wholesale theft of intellectual property. Now there are huge thriving corporations that sell nothing more than copied IP.
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