Micron is temporarily no longer allowed to sell and manufacture DRAM and NAND memory and related products in China. The American company lost a lawsuit in the Asian country from Taiwanese competitor United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC).
UMC won a preliminary injunction against Micron for alleged patent infringement. Micron can still appeal the case. The preliminary injunction forbids Micron to sell and produce 26 products in China, including PC memory, USB flash drives, and SSDs. Because the company has several fabs in China it could affect global supply of DRAM and NAND chips and related products. Micron is a top three memory manufacturer together with Korean SK Hynix and Samsung. The ban can also have serious effect on Micron itself, 50% of its revenue is generated in China.
In January this year, UMC filled a lawsuit against Micron for patent infringement covering three areas, including specific technologies related to DDR4, SSD and memory used in graphics cards. Besides a ban on the production and sales of products, UMC also seeks a $40.7 million compensation. Last year it was Micron who sued UMC for stealing for stealing memory related trade secrets.
The Micron ban comes at a time where China and the United States are in a trade dispute that also affects other industries. United States officials have accused Chinese companies from stealing intellectual property of American companies.
Micron and Intel are together in a joint venture for NAND memory production, it’s unclear how much Intel is also affected by this. Micron also sells products under the Crucial brand name.