Taiwan Company Guilty Of Semiconductor IP Theft

A company in Taiwan has been fined $60m after pleading guilty to stealing trade secrets, by hacking a computer memory chip stolen from an American semiconductor company and to make it work they conspired with a Chinese company the US Department of Justice has said. 

In September 2018 a US federal grand jury indicted Taiwan's United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) along with Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd., a state-owned enterprise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and three individuals with having stolen trade secrets of an American semiconductor company Micron Technology.

UMC stole the trade secrets of an American leader in computer memory design to enable China to achieve a strategic priority: self-sufficiency in computer memory production without spending its own time or money to earn it, according to US Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, “This prosecution is an example of the Department of Justice’s successful efforts to defend American companies from those who try to cheat and steal their technology.”

UMC has since  pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging the company with one count of criminal trade secret theft. 

The criminal prosecution of Fujian Jinhua and the three individual defendants will continue, as will a civil action seeking to enjoin Fujian Jinhua from the further transfer of stolen trade secrets and the export to the United States of products manufactured by Fujian Jinhua that were made using the stolen trade secrets. 

In particular, one file containing Micron’s trade secrets were used to adjust UMC’s design rules. Later, when Taiwan authorities searched UMC’s offices, employees were told by management to conceal their notes, USB drives,personal phones and other equipment from investigators.

These cases have global significance when a foreign defendant is charged with stealing intellectual property protected by US law.


US Dept. of Justice:        Infosecurity Magazine:       Standard & Poor        Caixin:       Focus Taiwan

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