Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Micron, UMC to withdraw IP complaints against each other

Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) of the United States and United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) (2303. TW) of Taiwan have agreed to drop their lawsuits against one other after a years-long court battle over intellectual property (IP).

UMC will pay Micron an unknown sum as a one-time payment, the two companies announced in separate statements on Thursday, without expanding on the grounds for their separation agreement.

Micron has accused UMC of stealing trade secrets and passing them on to a Chinese government-backed company. Micron’s China-based businesses were accused of infringing on UMC’s patents.

Their decision to drop the lawsuits comes amid broader US government concerns about technological theft, particularly in connection to China.

Last year, the United States fined UMC $60 million after the Taiwanese firm pled guilty to stealing Micron designs and sharing them with China’s state-backed Fujian Jinhua, which is building a memory chip manufacturing plant.

UMC at the time said management was unaware of the unauthorized actions of three employees who had previously worked for Micron.

As part of the guilty plea, the U.S. Department of Justice dismissed other allegations against UMC, including conspiracy to commit economic espionage.The US also charged Fujian Jinhua with stealing trade secrets and using them in its semiconductor designs. Fujian Jinhua has denied any misconduct on its part.

The US Department of Commerce included Fujian Jinhua in its so-called entity list in late 2018, thereby prohibiting US companies from doing business with it. According to analysts, the Chinese company has since paused chip production plans.