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Micron Tech., Inc. v. United Microelectronics Corp.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

May 2, 2019, Decided; May 2, 2019, Filed

Case No. 17-cv-06932-MMC

Opinion

ORDER DENYING [*2]  UNITED MICROELECTRONICS CORPORATION'S MOTION TO DISMISS; GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART JINHUA FUJIAN INTEGRATED CIRCUIT CO.'S MOTION TO DISMISS; AFFORDING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO AMEND; CONTINUING CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

Before the Court are two motions: (1) defendant United Microelectronics Corporation's ("UMC") Motion, filed February 22, 2019, "to Dismiss Plaintiff Micron Technology, Inc's First Amended Complaint"; and (2) defendant Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd.'s ("Jinhua") Motion, filed March 14, 2019, "to Dismiss First Amended Complaint." The motions have been fully briefed. Having read and considered the parties' respective written submissions, the Court rules as follows.1

BACKGROUND

In its First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), plaintiff Micron Technology, Inc. ("Micron") describes the parties as follows: Micron is a "global leader in advanced semiconductor systems" with a "portfolio of high performance memory technologies," including "Dynamic Random Access Memory ('DRAM') integrated circuits" (see FAC ¶¶ 1, 8); defendant UMC is a "semiconductor foundry with operations centered in Taiwan, China, and Singapore" (see FAC ¶ 2); and defendant Jinhua is a "company founded [*3]  in Mainland China in early 2016" that "plan[s] to begin commercial DRAM production by 2018" (see FAC ¶ 12).

According to Micron, UMC and Jinhua "executed a deal," under which UMC, although it "lack[ed] any significant, independent intellectual property in advanced DRAM technology," would "provide Jinhua with DRAM process technology and enable Jinhua to become a leading force in the DRAM business." (See FAC ¶ 2.) Micron alleges that UMC and Jinhua then "developed and set in motion a plan for UMC to recruit key personnel from Micron's Taiwanese affiliate," specifically, Micron Memory Taiwan Co., Ltd. ("MMT"). (See FAC ¶ 3.a.) In particular, Micron alleges that "UMC and Jinhua conspired to induce former MMT employees to misappropriate electronic and paper files containing Micron trade secrets from MMT and to deliver those trade secrets to UMC" (see FAC ¶ 3.b), that UMC then "recruit[ed] various MMT personnel with access to Micron trade secrets" (see FAC ¶ 69), that two MMT employees, prior to resigning from MMT and beginning employment with UMC, took "Micron trade secrets" from MMT (see FAC ¶¶ 16-17) and that UMC "incorporated Micron's trade secrets into technologies that it transferred [*4]  and/or plans to transfer to Jinhua to enable Jinhua to mass produce advanced DRAM products as early as 2018" (see FAC ¶ 3.c). Additionally, Micron alleges, "UMC and Jinhua have been using Micron's stolen trade secrets to file joint patent applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office." (See FAC ¶ 4.)

Based on the above allegations, Micron asserts against UMC and Jinhua four Counts: (1) "Misappropriation of Trade Secrets under the Defend Trade Secrets Act[,] 18 U.S.C. § 1836(b)," (2) "Civil RICO[,] 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c)," (3) "Civil RICO [,] 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)," and (4) "Trade Secret Misappropriation Under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act[,] Cal. Civ. Code § 3426."

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74527 *; 2019 WL 1959487

MICRON TECHNOLOGY, INC., Plaintiff, v. UNITED MICROELECTRONICS CORPORATION, and FUJIAN JINHUA INTEGRATED CIRCUIT CO., LTD., Defendants.

Prior History: Micron Tech., Inc. v. United Microelectronics Corp., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198125 (N.D. Cal., Nov. 20, 2018)

CORE TERMS

trade secret, alleges, misappropriation, personal jurisdiction, technology, patent application, argues, subject to dismissal, patents, occurring, prima facie, vendors, above-referenced, acquisition, manufacture, witnesses, servers, district court, downloaded, considers, employees, factors, parties, alternative forum, alleged act, racketeering, declaration, non-party, disclose, products