Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Micron-UMC legal battle; trade wars; FeFET funding.


Last year, Micron filed suit against UMC, alleging that UMC stole memory technology from the company and transferred it to Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., a DRAM maker in China.

In response, UMC filed patent infringement lawsuits against Micron in the mainland China courts in January of 2018

This week, Micron appears to have suffered a legal setback in its suit against Taiwan’s UMC in China. UMC announced that the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) issued a preliminary injunction against Micron Semiconductor (Xi’an) and Micron Semiconductor (Shanghai), enjoining Micron from offering to sell, and selling in the PRC 26 DRAM and NAND-related items, including certain solid-state hard drives and memory sticks in China.

In response, Micron said it will comply with the ruling while requesting the Fuzhou Court to reconsider or stay its decision. The affected products make up slightly more than 1% of Micron’s annualized revenues, according to Micron. The company continues to expect revenue to be within the previously guided range of $8.0 billion to $8.4 billion.

“Micron is disappointed with the ruling by the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court. We strongly believe that the patents are invalid and that Micron’s products do not infringe the patents. The Fuzhou Court issued this preliminary ruling before allowing Micron an opportunity to present its defense,” said Joel Poppen, senior vice president, legal affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary at Micron Technology, in a statement. “This ruling and other actions by the Fuzhou Court are inconsistent with providing a fair hearing through appropriate legal processes and procedures. Micron has a long-standing history of successful business operations in China, including a significant assembly and test manufacturing facility in Xi’an, as well as deep relationships with many valued China customers. Micron will continue to aggressively defend against these unfounded patent infringement claims while continuing to work closely with its customers and partners.”

The civil lawsuit filed by Micron against UMC and Jinhua in California is consistent with Micron’s commitment to protect and enforce its trade secrets and intellectual property worldwide. That litigation is ongoing.


The U.S.-China tariff dispute will spill into semiconductors and consumer electronics, according to IHS. “For the semiconductor space, the escalating tariffs dispute between the United States and China will be a bruising zero-sum game injurious to both sides in which there are no winners. A tariff war between the world’s two biggest makers and consumers of semiconductors is likely to spread throughout the vast electronics supply chain involving multitudes of markets, trades, and businesses, and both American and Chinese companies could end up suffering,” said Myson Robles-Bruce, a research manager at IHS, in a blog.

Ferroelectric Memory Co. (FMC), a developer of ferroelectric field effect transistor (FeFET) technology, announced the closing of a €4.6 million growth financing round led by eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners AG under participation of High-Tech Gründerfonds. The funds will enable FMC to expand its team and accelerate the development of its FeFET technology.

Materials and test
Praxair, in accordance with its proposed merger with Linde, has signed an agreement to sell the majority of its businesses in Europe to Taiyo Nippon Sanso.

Advantest has announced that six executive directors and one new member of the audit and supervisory committee were newly appointed at its 76th ordinary meeting of shareholders.

Market research
TV panel prices dropped in the second quarter of 2018, according to WitsView, a division of TrendForce. “Then, because of decreased supply and peak season, 32-inch panel price is predicted to rise in July. Some large-sized panel price might stay flat or even slightly move up from June,” according to the firm.

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