Micron settles IP theft lawsuit with the Chinese state-owned chipmaker Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co

Micron - China
(Image credit: Micron)

US-based chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. has reached a global settlement concerning a seven-year-old intellectual property theft lawsuit against its Chinese competitor and state-owned Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. The company's spokesperson briefly commented on the matter, saying, "The two companies will each globally dismiss their complaints against the other." 

Fujian Jinhua did not issue any official comment on the matter. 

Micron may have been 'encouraged' to settle the matter. Earlier, the Chinese government stopped using its chips in the nation's critical infrastructure, citing cybersecurity concerns in May 2023. As a result, its business was affected significantly, leading to a low double-digit percentage global revenue loss as a quarter of its revenues are from China and Hong Kong. 

Micron also promised to invest another 4.3 billion yuan (US$ 606.2 million) in its chip-making plants in China, which one may see as a move to make amends with the Chinese authorities.

How It All Began and Settled

The case was filed in 2017 by Micron against Fujian Jinhua and a Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) in the US court, alleging both companies were stealing company secrets about its memory chip technologies. The Taiwan-based company is also listed on the NY Stock Exchange.

The US Department of Justice filed a case against Fujian Jinhua, UMC and three Taiwan national individuals in 2018. The filed documents mentioned that the defendants conspired to steal Micron Technology Inc.'s DRAM technology. Micron is the only US-based company that makes DRAM and maintains a major competitive advantage because of its intellectual property, including designs, development, and manufacturing of DRAM chips. It is also alleged that China did not possess DRAM technology, a national economic priority at the time under the 'Made in China 2025' campaign.

Each company would have faced a minimum fine of $20 billion, according to the documents. But UMC settled the matter with the Department of Justice in 2021, a year after settling with Micron, by pleading guilty and sentenced to pay a $60 million fine. 

Freelance News Writer
  • drajitsh
    A victory for bullying -- I foresee an intensification of IP theft and industrial espionage , as well as a poor outcome for ARM