USA indicts Chinese, Taiwan firms for targeting Micron trade secrets

USA indicts Chinese, Taiwan firms for targeting Micron trade secrets

Last year, Micron sued the two companies named in the arraignment for stealing trade secrets, and prior this week the Commerce Department limited United States exports to Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. "We are here today to say enough is enough".

The charges allege that Stephen Chen, who was president of Micron Memory Taiwan (MMT; formerly Rexchip which Micron acquired in 2013), took trade secrets when he became senior vice president of United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) in 2015 and then conspired with Chinese-backed Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit (Jinhua) in January of 2016.

The United States also sued on Thursday to block the transfer of trade secrets and to prevent the companies from exporting to the USA any products that they manufacture by exploiting stolen information.

Sessions said the Taiwanese company partnered with a Chinese state-owned firm so that ultimately China could steal this technology and use it to compete against the US.

The stolen secrets revolve around Dynamic Random Access Memory technology - which these Chinese companies did not have until the data theft, prosecutors said.

Underscoring the indictment and the announcement of the initiative were the presence of Attorney General Jeff Session, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and an array of other officials from the DOJ and FBI.

The accused individuals face up to 15 years in prison and $5 million in fines, while the companies could incur up to $20 billion in financial penalties, Sessions added.

"UMC regrets that the U.S. Attorney's Office brought these charges without first notifying UMC and giving it an opportunity to discuss the matter", the company said. "The Administration has powerful, targeted tools at its disposal to hold bad actors accountable for theft of USA companies' IP and trade secrets, even when the theft takes place overseas".

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In December 2017, Micron filed a civil case against UMC and Jinhua in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for the misappropriation of Micron trade secrets.

(UMC) said Friday it takes the USA trade secrets theft charges leveled against the company seriously and will do everything possible to clear its name.

The prosecution comes amid heightened trade tensions and as American officials raise alarms about Chinese economic espionage. All the three Taiwanese have been charged. Trump said the two talked about many topics, but mostly about trade. Sessions said the Justice Department will work with Treasury on further developing those regulations. "The Chinese government's complicity in intellectual property theft hurts American manufacturers, workers, and consumers, and undermines the ability of US businesses to operate in China", Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., responded.

Prior to the events described in the indictment, the PRC did not possess DRAM technology, and the Central Government and State Council of the PRC publicly identified the development of DRAM and other microelectronics technology as a national economic priority.

The criminal case is US v. The U.S. has taken an increasingly tough and confrontational stance toward what it characterizes as China's "predatory" economic policies.

"Obviously, that commitment has not been kept".

For months, the Trump administration has been considering ways to decouple the USA and Chinese tech sectors: restricting visas for Chinese students in the scientific, engineering and math fields, banning Chinese telecommunications equipment companies from us 5G networks, expanding export controls on USA tech firms, and increasing official scrutiny of Chinese investments and joint U.S.

A state-owned Chinese organization was charged by the Justice Department on Thursday for taking trade secrets from an American chip producer.

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