Micron Technology has been temporarily barred from selling its memory components in China, following a patent dispute with Taiwanese rival United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC).

Founded in 1980 as a spin-out from from the government-led Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and Taiwan's first semiconductor company, United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) is no stranger to lawsuits alleging intellectual property infringement: The company was sued by Nintendo in the 90s for producing chips for counterfeit game cartridges, and settled in 1994. This time, though, it's in court for a different reason: It has accused US rival Micron of infringing its patents on memory technology, and has been granted an early win in the form of a temporary injunction against the company.

According to a statement released by UMC late yesterday, the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court of China has issued an injunction which prevents Micron from selling any of 26 products - including dynamic RAM and NAND flash components and finished products containing same - in China until the case can be decided. 'UMC is pleased with today's decision,' crows Jason Wang, co-president of UMC. 'UMC invests heavily in its intellectual property and aggressively pursues any company that infringes UMC's patents.'

The complaint, filed in January, accuses Micron of infringing UMC patents in three areas: DDR4 DRAM, NAND flash memory for solid-state drives (SSDs), and graphics memory. Micron, naturally, disagrees with UMC's claims, and in an interesting twist has issued a statement of its own claiming to have not yet been served with any such injunction.

The Court has not yet indicated when a final ruling on the case can be expected, nor for how long the injunction on sales is valid.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04