Micron Technology, Inc., (NASDAQ:MU) today received the announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice that on Nov. 1, 2018, it had issued indictments against United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit (Jinhua) and three former employees of Micron’s Taiwan unit for conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, economic espionage and related crimes.
“We appreciate the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to prosecute the criminal theft of our intellectual property,” said Joel Poppen, senior vice president, legal affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary at Micron Technology. “Micron has invested billions of dollars over decades to develop its intellectual property. The actions announced today reinforce that criminal misappropriation will be appropriately addressed.”
The three former Micron employees named in the indictment are former Micron Memory Taiwan chairman Stephen Chen and engineers JT Ho and Kenny Wang.
In December 2017, Micron filed suit against UMC and Jinhua in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for the misappropriation of Micron intellectual property and trade secrets.
Background about prior cases
- In August 2017, Taiwan authorities filed criminal indictments against UMC and three of its employees for the alleged theft and use of trade secrets from Micron, for the purpose of developing DRAM chip manufacturing technologies in cooperation with Jinhua. Two of those charged are former employees of Micron’s Taiwan unit who have now also been indicted for trade secret theft by the U.S. Department of Justice.
- In December 2017, Micron filed a civil case against UMC and Jinhua in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for the misappropriation of Micron trade secrets.
- In January 2018, in retaliation for the criminal indictments filed by Taiwan authorities and the civil lawsuit filed by Micron in Federal Court in California, UMC and Jinhua filed patent infringement suits in Fujian Province, China, against Micron’s China subsidiaries. On July 5, 2018, the court in Fujian notified the Micron subsidiaries that it had issued preliminary injunctions against them. Micron has asked the court to reconsider the injunctions, which the court issued without allowing Micron to present a defense. Micron strongly believes that the patents are invalid, that Micron’s products do not infringe the patents and that these suits are without merit.