China challenges US to provide 'evidence' in trade secrets case

US-CHINA-POLITICS-THEFT-COMPUTERS-MICRON

With the U.S. unsealing a criminal indictment against United Microelectronics (UMC) and its China-based partner of stealing trade secrets from Micron Technology, the Taiwan-based foundry has issued a statement dismissing the allegations.

'I am announcing that a grand jury in San Francisco has returned a multi-defendant indictment alleging economic espionage on the part of a state-owned Chinese company [Fujian Jinhua], a Taiwanese company [UMC], and three Taiwan individuals for an alleged scheme to steal trade secrets from Micron, an Idaho-based semi-conductor company, ' says US Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the charges.

The Justice Department unveiled criminal charges against Chinese state-owned Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) of Taiwan, along with three UMC officials.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions accused the companies on Thursday of stealing an estimated $8.75 billion worth of know-how from semiconductor giant Micron.

Micron filed its own a civil lawsuit against Fujian and United Microelectronics in December 2017 in federal court in California, accusing them of secret infringement of intellectual property related to its DRAM chips after prosecutors in Taiwan charged two Micron employees with stealing trade secrets.

After Fujian Jinhua was placed on the export ban list by the Department of Commerce, UMC promptly declared on October 31 that it would suspend all business activity with the Chinese company.

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Under the initiative, Sessions said, the department will aggressively pursue trade-secret theft cases, and develop a strategy to identify researchers and defense industry employees who've been "co-opted" by Chinese agents to transfer technology to China.

If convicted, each individual faces up to 15 years in prison and a $5 million fine. "UMC regrets that the US Attorney's Office brought these charges without first notifying UMC and giving it an opportunity to discuss the matter". Those files include details on Micron's DRAM manufacturing process, a 233-page PDF on the on how to manufacture 25nm DRAM chips, three Excel spreadsheets containing data for manufacturing the actual chips, and finally three PDFs on Micron's 20nm and 1xnm DRAM plans.

Department of Justice officials say alleged Chinese economic espionage is "increasing rapidly", and they have established a high-level initiative dedicated to countering what they call a pervasive threat to US national security. Wang's acts were most bold, as he allegedly misappropriated 900 Micron files and stole F32nm DRAM trade secrets from United States servers and stored it on his Google Drive account. Sessions said the Justice Department will work with Treasury on further developing those regulations. Fujian Jinhua was founded in 2016 for the sole objective of developing DRAM technology. Any U.S. companies found to be doing business with the Chinese chip company will face penalties, reports the Register.

In addition, the Justice Department announced an initiative to target Chinese economic espionage by identifying priority cases and ensuring there are enough resources available. This week the Commerce Department it had put Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit on a list of entities that can not buy components, software, and technology goods from USA firms.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow on the state of Trump administration trade talks with China. By some estimates, the cost to the US economy is $30 billion annually.

"Chinese economic espionage against the United States has been increasing and it has been increasing rapidly", Sessions said at a press conference.

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