Micron is alleging that the former employees stole trade secrets which enabled the China companies to make DRAM.
Ironically, the US used the legal processes to stop China’s previous strategy of attempting to acquire chip technology by buying US chip companies – including a Tsinghua bid for Micron.
Now that China seems to have abandoned the take-over strategy and adopted a new strategy of mass-recruitment of semiconductor engineers and execs, the US is, once again, pursuing legal methods to stop the strategy working.
The Micron lawsuit affects about 100 former employees of Micron’s Taiwanese subsidiaries, Rexchip and Inotera, who are now employed by the mainland China-based companies Hefei Chang Xin, Tsinghua Unigroup and Fujian Integrated Circuit.
All three China companies are trying to make DRAM.
Micron’s aims are, says the Economic Daily News, to stop the use of its technology and to try and prevent further poaching of its employees.
Some employees developing DRAM at Fujian Jinhua have been barred from leaving Taiwan, says the psper, while the prototype DRAM line set up by Fujian Jinhua at UMC’s fab in the Southern Taiwan Science Park has been put on hold pending further investigations.
Headhunters TrendForce reported recently that China needs to recruit 100,000 engineers and execs by 2020 to staff its new fabs – mostly memory fabs – now under construction.
Ironically, Micron was founded by a group of DRAM designers who left Mostek to join Inmos. Mostek sued Inmos for poaching its designers. Mostek got its designers back by offering them their own design company which the designers named Micron Technology.