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UMC's Micron lawsuit underway,three individuals on the arrest warrants

hskuo

New member
Taipei, June 27 (CNA) United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), Taiwan's second largest contract chipmaker, said on Friday that a business espionage lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on the company remained underway in a U.S. court, but declined to comment on the arrest warrants issued by the court for three of its former and current employees implicated in the case.

UMC said the arrest warrants were for three individuals so it was not appropriate for the company to comment on them.

The chipmaker emphasized that the separate portion of the lawsuit for allegations of stealing business information from American memory chipmaker Micron Technology Co. still proceeded.

UMC, however, did not disclose the progress of the lawsuit against the company after a Bloomberg report earlier Friday said a federal magistrate judge in San Francisco had issued arrest warrants for three current and former UMC employees, who used to work at Micron before joining UMC, after the three failed to show up in a hearing on Wednesday.

According to the Bloomberg report, the arrest warrants were issued on a request from Assistant U.S. Attorney General Laura Vartain Horn, who suddenly made the arrest request in a three-minute hearing.

In November 2018, the DOC charged UMC and the three individuals as Micron accused the Taiwanese firm and the three of stealing the U.S. firm's technologies to roll out dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips in a cooperation project with UMC's Chinese partner Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co.

According to the Bloomberg report, the efforts to arrest the three individuals have been notable since they were charged in the first case filed under the Trump administration's "China Initiative" targeting trade-secret theft, hacking and economic espionage.

The three individuals on the arrest warrants are Steven Chen (陳正坤), who used to be the president of Micron Taiwan, vice president of UMC and president of Jinhua; and two UMC engineers, Ho Chien-ting (何建廷) and Wang Yung-ming (王永銘), who had worked for Micron Taiwan, the report said.

The report cited legal experts as saying the three who are all Taiwan nationals have little motivation to appear in a U.S. court.

The case is just part of the legal hassles between UMC and Micron.

Earlier this month, a district court in Taichung found UMC and three of its employees guilty in a trade secret theft case brought by Micron. The court imposed a fine of NT$100 million (US$3.38 million) on UMC and sentenced the three individuals to up to six years and six months in jail along with a fine of up to NT$6 million.

The three individuals are Ho, Wang and Rong Le-tien (戎樂天), another UMC engineer.

UMC has said it will appeal the ruling, denying the accusations by Micron.

In January 2018, UMC filed a lawsuit with a Chinese court accusing Micron Semiconductor (Xian) and Micron Semiconductor (Shanghai) of infringing on the Taiwanese firm's patents in China. The court ruled in favor of UMC.

Due to the lawsuits, UMC has suspended technology cooperation with Jinhua.

(By Chang Chien-chung and Frances Huang)

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