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Taiwanese chipmaker named United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) soon will be paying Micron Technology an undisclosed fee so as to settle their dispute regarding trade secrets that stoked US fears that alleged China for stealing technology. UMC was fined $60m in the month of October last year itself when it pleaded guilty to US charges of stealing Micron’s confidential information and later sharing it with China-based Fujian Jinhua during a collaboration with the company.
The case was put up under scrutiny by Taiwanese technology companies that form a very crucial part of the global semiconductor supply chain but it often has some serious deep links with Chinese manufacturers. However, all Taiwanese companies were pushed to decrease their dependency on China during the period of heightened tension between Washington and Beijing under the Presidency of Donald Trump.
The resolution of the UMC dispute arose as the US decided to step up its campaign for limiting technology transfer to China. The UMC dispute is having its roots in the year 2016 when the company signed a deal with Fujian Jinhua including several provisions for the Taiwanese company aiming to boost its production capacity.
In the month of October last year, UMC admitted itself in court that it had hired engineers from Micron who later worked on the project activities and also allegedly shared several confidential information during the collaboration of Micron with UMC. In a joint statement issued the two companies said, “With the payment of an undisclosed fee from UMC, we both would withdraw our complaints against each other. The companies look forward to future mutual business opportunities.”
Dan Wang who is a Shanghai-based technology analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics, a research firm, said, “Semiconductors remained one of the central fronts in US-China competition and that the US has given little indication that it would loosen its controls on the technology. Chipmakers are in a gloomy mood. The US Government has made it a matter of policy to evict them from a country that is everyone’s largest or fastest-growing market.” Trade secrets undoubtedly are a very crucial asset for every company as they are those secrets behind their successful trade. It is illegal to share such trade secrets without taking prior permission from the parent company.