Micron Sues Ex-Employees Working For China DRAM companies

According to the China Economic Daily News, Micron is suing former employees at its Taiwanese subsidiaries who are now working for mainland China DRAM companies.

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.



  1. Well absolutely Robetc. Silicon Valley wouldn’t have got very far if all the lawsuits had been decided in favour of the employers rather than employees departing to start new companies.

  2. All the contracts I ever signed included an IP clause, and some a restriction on working for companies doing similar busines in the same geographical area. I learned that these clauses were worthless as they could not be construed accurately and amounted to a restriction of trade; i.e. I couldn’t be prevented from earning a living.
    A visit to an employment solicitor came about when I left the employment of a particularly obnoxious MD. I was told, “We slap an injunction on them and sue for loss of earnings, reputation and costs.” One letter and this “master of the universe” backed off extremely PDQ.

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