Chinese Chipmakers Held Hostage: Micron Technology Sued UMC and JHICC | BusinessKorea

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Chinese Chipmakers Held Hostage

Micron Technology Sued UMC and JHICC

Seoul, Korea
14 December 2017 - 11:15am
Cho Jin-young

Micron Technology recently filed a lawsuit against China-based United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd. (JHICC) with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming that they infringed upon its DRAM patents and intellectual property rights.

Earlier, two former employees of Micron Technology handed the company’s DRAM technology to UMC, a Taiwanese company planning to work with JHICC. The lawsuit is to deal with the tech leak related to China. This is the first time that Micron Technology takes such action in the United States with regard to China.

JHICC is a leading Chinese DRAM manufacturer and it has worked with UMC for technical cooperation. Therefore, JHICC’s fabrication can be significantly affected depending on the result of the litigation. This means memory chip manufacturing by China, which is forecast to start in the latter half of 2018 or the first half of 2019, can be postponed.

UMC and JHICC are yet to release their DRAM chips and, as such, Micron Technology cannot claim damages with ease. However, the Chinese companies may face damage suits once the production is initiated. Late last year, Micron Technology sued 100 or so former employees, claiming that they exposed its trade and business secrets by moving to Chinese companies from its partner firms. The litigation may be expanded with the Chinese companies including Tsinghua Unigroup. 


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