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UMC Settles Technology Theft Legal Battle With Micron

Micron Technology and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) on Thursday said they had reached a global settlement agreement. The companies will cease legal battles worldwide and UMC will make a one-time payment to Micron. The undisclosed payment will settle all claims of theft relating to its DRAM process technology and subsequent sale to one of the Chinese memory manufacturers.

The two companies did not disclose how much UMC will pay Micron, but said it would be a one-time payment, so Micron will eventually have to disclose it in one of its financial reports (a number that will be very interesting to know). Last year UMC admitted in a U.S. court that it illegally obtained crucial IP and trade secrets (which basically means a process technology) required to produce DRAM and then passed it to Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company (aka Fujian or JHICC), a China-based DRAM maker. The contract maker of chips paid a fine of approximately $60 million to the U.S. Department of Justice, which accused JHICC and UMC of corporate espionage and conspiracy. UMC also paid a fine of $3.4 million in Taiwan.