Chinese firm says ASML’s IP infringement claims 'inconsistent with facts'
Published: Feb 12, 2022 07:54 PM Updated: Feb 12, 2022 07:46 PM
A researcher shows a device produced with the lithography equipment on November 29. Photo: VCG

A researcher shows a device produced with the lithography equipment on November 29. Photo: VCG

China's Dongfang Jingyuan Electron, which makes software for chip manufacturing procedures, has vehemently refuted accusations about intellectual property (IP) infringement against ASML Holdings, the world's largest supplier of lithography machines.

Chinese analysts have also criticized ASML for starting 'a war of words" against a Chinese firm by making such accusations, urging ASML to take legal actions to defend its interests if it has evidence rather than making allegations. 

"We have noted the recent emergence of a large number of internet reports related to our company, which are inconsistent with the facts, and we reserve the right to take any other legal actions against the relevant false information," the Beijing-based company said in a recent strongly worded statement.

Since its founding in 2014, the company has been in compliance with Chinese laws and regulations, adhering to the principle of independent research and development and innovation, and respecting and protecting IP rights, it stated.

The statement came in response to media reports about ASML's warning about Dongfang Jingyuan's potential IP infringement.

During its latest annual report released on Wednesday, ASML said that Dongfang Jingyuan, a company associated with XTAL Inc, "was actively marketing products in China that could potentially infringe on ASML's IP rights." 

The company said that it has requested certain customers not to aid the Chinese company and informed the relevant Chinese authorities of its concerns.

ASML didn't provide any evidence regarding its accusations against Dongfang Jingyuan, but only highlighted the connection between Dongfang Jingyuan and XTAL. The latter lost a legal battle against ASML over IP infringement in 2019 in the US.

It is not clear what the IP infringement that ASML has alleged actually concerns. But it seems problematic for a company that controls about 90 percent of the global lithography equipment market not to use normal legal means to protect its IP, but use public opinion and its almost monopolistic position to pile up pressure on a rival, Xiang Ligang, an independent tech analyst, told the Global Times on Saturday.

After the US blocked major companies from supplying Chinese companies with semiconductor-related technologies and products, China has gone all out to build its own chip ecosystem. Despite the technological gap with the West, Chinese companies have been making major progresses.

Dongfang Jingyuan has received 145 domestic and foreign invention patents, 49 authorized invention patents, 14 software copyrights and 15 registered trademarks since 2014.

China may lag behind the West in many technological areas, but it doesn't mean that any of China's technological progress is achieved through infringement of others' IP rights, Xiang noted.

"If ASML has the relevant patents and evidence to prove its allegations against Dongfang Jingyuan, it should take legal weapon to defend itself, rather than start a war of words to discredit Chinese technology companies, which simply doesn't address any real problems," Xiang said.