Micron, UMC to withdraw IP complaints against each other

U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology Inc and Taiwanese peer United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) have agreed to withdraw complaints against each other following a years-long legal dispute over intellectual property (IP).

UMC will make a onetime payment to Micron of an undisclosed amount, the pair also said in separate statements on Thursday, without elaborating on reasons for their withdrawal agreement.

Micron had accused UMC of misappropriating trade secrets and passing them to a Chinese state-backed firm. UMC had alleged patent infringement by two of Micron’s China-based subsidiaries.

Their agreement to withdraw the complaints comes amid broader concerns from the U.S. government about technology theft, particularly in relation 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 unauthorised 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 United States also indicted Fujian Jinhua for allegedly using the trade secrets in its chip designs. Fujian Jinhua has denied wrongdoing.

In late 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce added Fujian Jinhua to its so-called entity list, in effect barring U.S. companies doing business with it. The Chinese firm has since halted chip production plans, analysts have said.

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