China’s leading manufacturer of 3D-NAND flash memory, Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp., has filed a lawsuit against Micron Technology Inc. alleging infringement of eight patents.
YMTC has sued Micron in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, according to a Reuters account, which quoted a YMTC confirmation saying: “We are confident that this matter will be resolved swiftly.”
Allegedly Micron made use of certain YMTC patented technology to compete with Chinese company and was not paying appropriately for use of these patented inventions.
YMTC is a relatively small player in the 3D-NAND flash market which is led by such companies as Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron, Western Digital and Kioxia.
However, YMTC has shown it is able to compete with the leaders (see China’s YMTC confirms lead in 3D NAND flash memory) and was close to gaining design wins in Apple iPhones in 2022 before it was added to a US export license control list in October 2022 (see Advanced logic, memory, YMTC come under China export controls).
Trouble in China
Over the same period Micron has had a troubled history in China.
China’s cyber-security imposed a purchasing ban on Micron memories into criticial infrastructure in China in May 2023 (see Micron hit with ban on sales into Chinese ‘critical infrastructure‘). It then appeared to be trying to normalize relations with China when it announced a plan to spend more than 4.3 billion yuan (US$600 million) at its packaging and test facility at Xi’an, China.
In 2020 Micron had warned that China’s leading DRAM maker CXMT could be infringing its patents.
And prior to that Micron was involved in a patent dispute from 2015 to 2017 that forced China’s Fujian Jin Hua to suspend the building of a DRAM wafer fab. Micron accused UMC of stealing trade secrets and passing them to Jin Hua (see Report: UMC backs away from China DRAM venture).