Last month Jinhua was hit with a ban the US Department of Commerce, the latest step in an escalation that saw UMC indicted in a California court in December 2017 over the alleged theft of DRAM trade secrets from Micron and UMC suing Micron Technology Inc. (Boise, Idaho) alleging patent infringement in the Chinese courts in 2018.
"Contrary to any impressions that may have been given by the civil and criminal lawsuits, UMC's DRAM technology is, fundamentally, based on a cell design entirely different from Micron’s design. In a nutshell, UMC developed a memory cell with a 3x2 layout, which is completely different from Micron's 2x3 memory cell."
In the statement UMC stressed its history, dating back to 1996, of making DRAM and embedded DRAM processes. It pointed out that US-based fabless memory company Alliance Semiconductor Corp. used UMC as its foundry.
"The joint development project under which UMC agreed to develop the DRAM process for Jinhua, which was a stand-alone project entirely separate from UMC’s pure-play foundry services, was nothing but a pure business transaction that made all the business sense for UMC at the time. It was duly submitted to the Taiwan authorities, which approved the project in its entirety in April 2016. Notably, that was a time when the U.S.-China trade war was unheard of," the statement said.
It continued: "Since UMC began its contractual obligations to develop the DRAM process technology for Jinhua and itself, UMC has expended hundreds of millions of New Taiwan Dollars. Although the number of R&D team members working on this DRAM project was at times close to 300, less than 10 percent of them once worked for Micron."
UMC concluded by saying that it defend itself against any false charges and misconceived allegations.
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