China court bans Micron chip sales in patent case

China court bans Micron chip sales in patent case

This prompted UMC to countersue on January 12, filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Micron at the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court.

A Chinese court has temporarily barred Micron from selling 26 products in the country including memory chips, memory sticks and hard drives, Taiwan's United Microelectronics Corporation said in a statement late Tuesday.

Share slid 5.5% Wednesday after a Chinese court ruled in favor of United Microelectronics and Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit, which said Micron had infringed on patents in China. The lawsuit covers three areas, including specific memory applications and memory used in graphics cards. "Micron will not be commenting further until the company has received and reviewed documentation from the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court of China".

Commenting on the decision, co-president of UMC Jason Wang, said: "UMC is pleased with today's decision". When violations occur, UMC stands ready pursue patent infringement litigation in order to obtain judgment and remedies to protect the intellectual property rights of the company.

Li Yiqiang, a partner at law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, told Reuters that normally, Chinese courts set a very high bar for granting injunctions in complex patent infringement cases, but the trade tensions may have given the court more leeway in this case.

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Analysts believe the ban is largely symbolic as hurting the USA chipmaker would end up creating more pain for local Chinese firms who would have to rely on Korean firms Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, pushing up memory chip prices. Only this week, the company said it was planning to list its HeJian Technology Corp., its China operations, on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. If the judgment is enforced in the future, Micron will be prohibited from selling some of its memory products in China. In 2017, Micron generated about half of its $20.3 billion fiscal revenue from China.

As of 11:42 a.m., shares of UMC had gained 0.56 percent to NT$18.05 (US$0.58), with 81.87 million shares changing hands, outperforming the broader market index, which was down 0.12 percent at 10,702.91.

It also resells flash memory products purchased from other suppliers.

However, sources close to the company say it is now drafting a response to the ruling by the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court of the People's Republic of China. Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron have been leading this market by supplying memory semiconductors to home appliance, smartphone and server companies.

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