Skip to main content

DRAMa: Chinese Vendor Fujian Jinhua Denies Stealing US Firm's Trade Secrets

(Image credit: Jiri Vaclavek/Shutterstock)

DRAM never gets boring. Shortly after the federal government's U.S. Department of Commerce prohibited U.S. organizations from exporting goods to Chinese DRAM vendor Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd., the company has released a statement defending itself against the claim that it stole trade secrets from a U.S. business.

According to the Department of Commerce, Fujian Jinhua's plan to increase DRAM production "threatens the long-term economic viability of U.S. suppliers of these essential components of U.S. military systems," which means the DRAM maker "poses a significant risk of becoming involved in activities that are contrary to the national security interests of the United States."

Quick note: The following results from a Google Translate interpretation of Fujian Jinhua's statement. You can find the full statement here. The translation likely isn't perfect and, therefore, could twist Fujian Jinhua's message in some way. However, the following should offer a rough idea of what the company had to say:

"Jinhua Company has always firmly adhered to independent research and development routes, continuously increased investment, carried out research and development and manufacturing of memory and memory-related products and achieved a number of patent achievements. Jinhua Company always attaches great importance to the protection of intellectual property rights, and there is no behavior to steal other company technologies.

"Micron regards the development of Jinhua as a threat and adopts various means to prevent and destroy the development of Jinhua. The United States has included Jinhua in the U.S.' 'list of entities for export control' and has taken judicial measures. In this regard, Jinhua Company resolutely safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of enterprises, requires the other party to immediately stop wrong practices and facilitates and promotes the normal trade and cooperation between the two enterprises."

The Department of Commerce didn't say which U.S. technologies it believed Fujian Jinhua used for its DRAM products, but the company has gone back and forth with Micron over allegations of patent infringement and theft of intellectual property. Fujian Jinhua and another DRAM maker, United Microelectronics Corporation, were previously granted an injunction that prevented Micron from selling select products in China.

This makes the Department of Commerce's decision the latest in a series of conflicts between the U.S. and China in recent months. (More on those disputes, which include tariffs threatening some $200 billion worth of goods originating from China, can be found in our previous coverage.) But just like Micron didn't keep quiet when the Chinese government barred it in July, Fujian Jinhua had a few things to say itself.

  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Like they are going to admit to the theft...Lol
    Reply
  • SkyBill40
    The Chinese have straight up stolen IPs from several companies by corporate espionage, reverse engineering, or a host of other means. Seeing that there's really no prosecutable ground upon which to stand for a company that has had their tech stolen, it's a wonder why many of them continue to do business with the Chinese at all. You'd think it a lesson learned but I guess the opportunity to profit is too great to fully warn them off.

    Here is but one news article covering 10 IP theft cases:

    https://www.prosperousamerica.org/top_ten_cases_of_chinese_ip_theft
    Reply
  • wallyvc17
    It's China. What these guys don't copy, they flat out steal. Tech companies were stupid as hell to move production there, when there are far less criminally aggressive countries they could have chosen to outsource to. Now they are addicted to the profits from near slave labor wages and are stuck...
    Reply
  • Christopher1
    Wallyvc17, most stuff today has 'prior artwork' to it. The bulk of software and technical patents should never have been issued because guess what? Yep, people did it 25+ years ago.
    Such as the 'sculpted corners on a phone' that was done by a company 40 years ago!
    Reply
  • s1mon7
    I know it's easy to think of China as the copycat here, but what technologies were exactly stolen here? I mean, Micron is in the business of manufacturing products around industry standards (and seems to do a rather poor job at it too). It's not like they have any critical, creative solutions or IPs in their portfolio. Generally whatever they have, pretty much everyone else has. There are only so many ways you can make a DDR4 or DDR5 package, and let's be realistic here, Micron is not inventing anything there, and it seems like they might be a bit over their heads with what they have. Until any actual details are provided, it seems like a company screaming bloody murder at a new competitor who isn't into price fixing.
    Reply
  • SkyBill40
    21462679 said:
    I know it's easy to think of China as the copycat here, but what technologies were exactly stolen here?

    Uhh... did you even click on the link I posted? While it doesn't address the Micron situation specifically, it does address the fact that China has repeatedly stolen IPs and tech from outside companies. To the point of Micron: Unless you are privvy to the specifics of their tech and what their patents are governing them, all we have to go on is what has been stated which is some of it was stolen. If there was no basis for truth, the legal action would not have gone anywhere. You can choose to ignore the ramifications of Micron's IP being stolen and support the Chinese if you wish, but refusing to see and accept the glaring facts of the much bigger picture is highly problematic.

    Reply
  • fry178
    one thing ive learned when working security/threat assessment for airlines, that most asians will smile at you and say "yes", even if they didn't understand a word.
    i doubt we will ever see a Chinese company admitting something like that all.
    Reply
  • s1mon7
    21463604 said:
    21462679 said:
    I know it's easy to think of China as the copycat here, but what technologies were exactly stolen here?

    Uhh... did you even click on the link I posted? While it doesn't address the Micron situation specifically, it does address the fact that China has repeatedly stolen IPs and tech from outside companies. To the point of Micron: Unless you are privvy to the specifics of their tech and what their patents are governing them, all we have to go on is what has been stated which is some of it was stolen. If there was no basis for truth, the legal action would not have gone anywhere. You can choose to ignore the ramifications of Micron's IP being stolen and support the Chinese if you wish, but refusing to see and accept the glaring facts of the much bigger picture is highly problematic.

    China is a country. This accusation targets a company that just 5 months ago accused Micron of copying techniques related to their DDR4, SSD and memory used in graphics cards and won the case, leading to Micron being banned from China.
    Unless any details are provided, this is pure slander and revenge action by the US government.

    We all know that there are many Chinese companies with copycat culture. Presuming that it's always the case just because a company is from China and it will surely fly in the culture of hating on the country it's headquartered in is ridiculous. Jinhua is a major partner of UMC (that apparently was the one stealing Micron's tech on Jinhua's behalf), one of the largest semiconductor fabs in the world, located in Taiwan, larger than Micron, albeit operating on lower profit margins.

    Again, I'm not saying they're not guilty, but we simply don't even know what the accusations are, they didn't come with a single specific information, and all we know is that they are retaliatory for Micron being banned for their misdeeds (that we know of and were proven in court), and from what we have so far it seems like it's Micron (and the US govt using political climate to back them up) who are in the wrong here. It seems like they thought it'd be easy to make a "Chinese company" the bad guy here without even providing a single detail, and judging by the headlines and the comments made by people who just saw those headlines and immediately became convinced that it's another case of "China stealing tech", it indeed is.
    We should all have a problem with that.
    Reply
  • littleleo
    Theft of intellectual property is China's life blood for developing anything past noodles and silk. I know someone that was invited to give a presentation there. He kept his documents with him at all times. Finally they invited him to a formal dinner. When he came back to his room he found his briefcase had been moved & opened. Later the Chinese declined to invest in the process he was asked by them to present. And the following year they had a similar process that looked remarkably like his. Yeah, they steal everything they can, and then act surprised when they get caught.
    Reply
  • SkyBill40
    China is a Communist nation state unless you've forgotten that important aspect. Little, if anything, gets done without being passed through or cleared by the government. There's no debating that as it is a matter of solidly supported fact.

    You're making an assertion without any basis of fact by stating that this is a retaliatory action by Micron or by the US government. That's some hasty generalization of the worst possible kind if I've ever seen any. Don't do that. We can speculate all we want, but don't make a statement as fact when it can't be properly supported or validated as such. If you're going with "it seems like" as the general basis to support your claim, you may as well not have said anything at all or instead led with "in my opinion." You talk about retaliatory action being taken by our government, but have you considered that them banning Micron from selling in China isn't a bit of the same? UMC hasn't provided Micron with a copy of the court's decision and hasn't been served with an injunction as of this story which was written on 03 JUL 18. Given that was now several months ago, they may have finally received their documentation:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-03/micron-chip-sales-banned-in-china-on-patent-case-rival-umc-says

    Besides, if they've already got Micron's tech and are producing it on their own, why allow a competitor from another nation sell there? It just undermines your own industry to a degree. As for this particular case, we're not likely to learn the finite details since it's still being investigated and under a likely gag of litigation. That said, no one, myself included, has made any kind of assertion that ALL businesses from China are shady and acting in a nefarious manner; coincidentally, there's sure a lot of smoke out there which means there are a lot of fires to go with it. Is this another instance where they are proven to have done what has been claimed? I suppose we'll see.

    Corporate espionage is nothing new and it's a cutthroat world out there. Business is war, after all. This illustrates it rather clearly.
    Reply