Micron says has not received Chinese injunction on chip sales

Semiconductors are among China's biggest imports rivalling oil

Idaho-based Micron was slapped with an injunction for "violating UMC's patent rights in a court verdict that applies to all of mainland China", UMC said in a statement on Tuesday that disclosed the ruling.

Micron said it had not been served with the injunction and would not comment further until it had reviewed documentation from the Chinese court.

The court drama started in December when Micron filed a lawsuit in California under the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

This ordeal started when Micron sued the foundry based in Taiwan in December at a USA court, claiming trade secrets were stolen.

UMC's complaint followed a lawsuit issued by Micron against it in the USA past year.

The lawsuits covered three areas, specific memory applications related to DDR4, SSD and memory used in graphics cards. The company employs more than 20,000 people worldwide, with offices in Taiwan, China, Europe, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and the United States.

The dispute follows a ban on US firms supplying parts to China's telecom equipment maker ZTE as well as the drawn-out wait for Chinese regulators to approve Qualcomm Inc's $44 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors.

The U.S. case brought by Micron sprang out of a criminal indictment in August of 2017 in Taiwan brought against UMC as well as one of its partners Fujian Jinhua Integrated. However, that may not be good news to Korean semiconductor companies.

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"I think that China is using this case as a payback against the US", said Ho in an interview with the Taiwan branch of New York-based broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television.

The move comes after UMC took Micron to the Chinese courts over patent infringement claims.

"In today's environment, because of the tensions between China and the United States", local judges may feel more comfortable granting an injunction knowing they will "face less pressure from the higher courts", Li said. UMC's case included requests that Micron stop making, importing, or selling these products.

UMC shares rose as much as 3.9 percent on Wednesday, before erasing a chunk of the gains to be up 1 percent.

The Micron ban could be a major opportunity for other global chipmakers to step in. If the ban is enacted, Micron's competitors, including Samsung, SK Hynix, WDC, Intel, Toshiba and the new entrant YMTC would be benefited.

Fujian Jinhua also issued a statement on Tuesday saying the court had ruled against Micron.

China is the largest importer of memory products, consuming 20 percent of the world's DRAM, as it has yet to build up its nascent chip industry. The order applied to 26 products, including Micron's DRAM and NAND flash products.

The Chinese ban on Micron targeted its products sold through retail outlets and represented only a small portion of the chipmaker's revenue.

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