UMC pays to reach Micron memory settlement

UMC pays to reach Micron memory settlement

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

The companies will each globally withdraw their complaints against the other party, and UMC will make a one-time payment of an undisclosed amount to Micron. “UMC and Micron look forward to engaging in mutual business cooperation opportunities,” said the statement issued by both companies.

In June 2020 UMC was found guilty of theft of trade secrets from Micron by a court in Taichung City, Taiwan (see UMC found guilty of stealing Micron DRAM secrets). UMC was ordered to pay a fine of NT$100 million (about US$3.37 million). The foundry was set to appeal the ruling.

The law suit referenced events back in 2015 through 2017 when UMC was working with Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. Ltd. to develop and introduce DRAM components to the market. It was alleged that two engineers who had previously worked for Micron Taiwan, before joining UMC in November 2015 and March 2016 had proprietary Micron information to UMC, although UMC always claimed that the Fujian Jinhua project was based on its own proprietary DRAM technology (see UMC sues Micron in China).

The lawsuit had a sufficiently chilling effect that UMC suspended the project with Jinhua (see Report: UMC backs away from China DRAM venture) but UMC also successfully sued Micron in China of patent infringement (see Micron hit with Chinese DRAM ban).

Some observers saw the legal spat as a proxy for pressure from the US on China and an attempt to prevent it gaining ground in semiconductors. In terms of timing it signified the start of pressure that focused in on such leading Chinese companies as Huawei and foundry SMIC in subsequent years and continues today.

UMC is Taiwanese company and the People’s Republic of China is making increasingly loud noises about its right to repossess the island of Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade state.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

UMC found guilty of stealing Micron DRAM secrets

Micron hit with Chinese DRAM ban

UMC sues Micron in China

Report: UMC backs away from China DRAM venture

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