Engineers found guilty of stealing trade secrets from Micron, sold to Chinese counterparts

A Taiwanese made a final verdict of an intellectual property theft case where former engineers of United Microelectronic Corp. (UMC) stole information from Micron Technology and sold it to a Chinese company backed by the CCP government. According to the case, the engineering stole the US chipmaker’s trade secrets. This case a part of an ongoing two-year-long case involving companies in Asia and North America. Over many years, many Chinese companies were found to commit theft of trade secrets in many sectors.

How did the theft happen?

Micron Technologies earlier filed a case against UMC and China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. which benefitted from this theft. All was not as good as UMC countersued Micron in China. The Chinese courts intervened by banning the sale of some Micron chips. Earlier, the state of California indicted both companies for stealing Micron’s trade secrets. Taiwan court’s ruling reinvigorates theft of its trade secrets.

Despite UMC’s claims, engineers earned salaries from UMC and Jinhua. It was found that the company was trading Micron’s information without its knowledge. The three engineers stole Micron’s trade secret for UMC. The company gave the final research to Jinhua, using it for mass productions chips in China.

Taiwan’s district court verdict

Along with the guilty verdict of theft or assisting with theft, Taiwan based UMC is fined $3.4 million. The engineers will serve a prison time between 4.5 and 6.5 years. They will also have to pay a fine between US$ 134,804 to US$ 201,761 equivalent in NT$. Meanwhile, UMC will be making an appeal, claiming that it has not violated any wrongdoing.

Micron is happy with with the court’s verdict and the fine imposed. The company made a statement:

The misappropriation of trade secrets and their transfer outside of Taiwan is detrimental to the country’s entire semiconductor industry and threatens future competitiveness. This judgment further reinforces the importance of intellectual property protection in Taiwan, demonstrating that criminal misappropriation will be appropriately addressed.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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