A Samsung employee in South Korea has been busted by authorities while trying to sell confidential company information to unnamed Chinese phone makers, says a report from Korean news agency Daum. The employee in question was allegedly trying to sell sensitive information on Samsung's fabrication process for 14nm and 10nm-based processors, which does suggest that the information is clearly very important and it is thus no wonder that Samsung is suing the employee. Samsung is set to become the first company in the world to introduce 10nm Exynos processors and had the employee succeeded in selling the technology, Samsung's Exynos processor family may have lost the edge that Samsung's engineers have so painstakingly built over the years.
Back in April, Samsung announced to the world that it was initiating mass manufacturing of 10nm based DRAM chips for PCs and it is now well known that the company may soon announce details of 10nm-based Exynos processors for mobile phones and start mass manufacturing the processors by the end of this year. What's relevant about 10nm based chipsets is that they are smaller than 14nm ones, feature Samsung's FinFET technology, faster than existing chips and more power efficient as well. With a large number of sensors, electronic components, processors and co-processors, cameras, RAMs, batteries and coolant tubes vying for space within smartphones, a smaller yet more efficient processor would indeed save some space for Samsung to add more technologies in its phones. Given that such a path-breaking technology could easily have fallen into competitors' hands, the fact that it was prevented must have given Samsung a sigh of relief.
Proprietary technologies are expensive to research, test and develop and are time-consuming as well, which is the reason why technology companies keep their secrets closely guarded. However, some of them do get leaked and result in patent infringement lawsuits and aggressive accusations. Last month, Motorola indirectly alleged on Twitter that Samsung stole their Always On Display, which the latter implemented in the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge devices. In regards to the Samsung employee, had they not been caught, it's possible that some Chinese phone maker could have announced that they would be launching 10nm-based processors in the future.