China court bans Micron chip sales in patent case

TAIPEI: A Chinese court has temporarily barred Micron Technology from selling 26 chip products in the mainland in a ruling over a patent infringement case with Taiwan’s United Microelectronics (UMC), UMC said.

The ruling, which hit shares of Idaho-based Micron and other US chipmakers on Tuesday, comes amid an escalating trade spat between Washington and Beijing over tariffs.

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It also comes as China investigates Micron and its South Korean rivals over price-fixing allegations, amid a surge in prices of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips.

The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court issued a preliminary sales injunction against Micron that prevents it from selling the chips, including DRAM chips and NAND flash memory chips, in China, UMC said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Micron, which gets a chunk of its revenues from China, said it had not been served with the injunction and would not comment further until it had reviewed documentation from the Chinese court.

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The two chipmakers have been at loggerheads since December when Micron filed a civil lawsuit in the state of California, accusing UMC of secret infringement of intellectual property related to its DRAM chips. In January, UMC filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Micron in China.

Micron shares closed down 5.5 per cent at $51.48, while Nvidia finished 2 per cent lower. Intel and Broadcom closed down 1 per cent.

UMC shares rose more than 3 per cent in early trading on Wednesday.

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