Monday, 19 November, 2018

Chinese firms hit with trade secret theft charges

Chinese company charged with stealing trade secrets from US chipmaker Trump administration charges Chinese companies with spying on U.S.
Ray Hunter | 04 November, 2018, 10:32

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 USA national security.

United States investigators say the two, and especially Wang, downloaded and stole over 900 Micron confidential and proprietary files, which he kept on USB external hard drives and cloud storage accounts. In the meantime, Washington is signaling that the gloves are off.

Authorities reported that they would be seeking after civilian activity to prevent the transfer of the data and block the export of products made with these designs from China into the US.

Ltd. and three individuals, accusing them of conspiring to steal business secrets from Idaho-based semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced charges Thursday against Chinese and Taiwan companies for theft of an estimate $8.75 billion worth of trade secrets from U.S. semiconductor giant Micron. The company has a 20- to-25 percent share of the world's supply of DRAM, prosecutors said.

"For almost 40 years, UMC has devoted countless energy and resources to the development of integrated circuit-related technology and has won thousands of patents across the world", the company said, stressing that "we will do our utmost to respond to the charges and have hired lawyers to clear our name and defend the interests of our shareholders". (UMC) attempted to steal trade secrets from a USA chipmaker, Micron Technologies.

Jinhua has been on the U.S. government's radar for months. Chen then became the president of a Micron subsidiary in Taiwan, Micron Memory Taiwan ("MMT"), responsible for manufacturing at least one of Micron's DRAM chips.

The indictment alleges that China was interested in gaining access to dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM, a type of technology it did not possess.

The indictment charged that the Chinese operation involved the downloading of over 900 Micron confidential and proprietary files that were stolen.

Taiwan assisted with the investigation, according to Alex Tse, the US attorney for northern California.

According to the DOJ, the three individual defendants face up to 15 years imprisonment and $5 million in fines on the espionage counts, with a further 10 years of possible jail time for trade secrets theft.

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The department has filed a civil suit against the two companies as well. The three men charged Thursday are in China, U.S. officials said. Without equipment sold only in the United States, Jinhua can not build the DRAM chips.

"We will not allow our sovereignty to be disrespected, our intellectual property to be stolen, or our people to be robbed of their hard-earned prosperity", he said. We can identify exactly what they are doing.

"UMC regrets that the U.S. Attorney's Office brought these charges without first notifying UMC and giving it an opportunity to discuss the matter", the company said. Last month, the Treasury Department released interim rules to implement the new law. A Justice Department spokesman said the defendants were served summonses in Taiwan and that none is in custody.

The Justice Department also will target Chinese threats to USA companies that provide components for sensitive technologies, especially those in the telecommunications sector as it readies for the transition to 5G networks.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow on the state of Trump administration trade talks with China. It's supply chain risk.

The announcement, at which Sessions was flanked by Federal Bureau of Investigation director Cristopher Wray, came just days after the Department of Commerce banned U.S. firms from doing business with Jinhua - itself a severe sanction that could well put the Chinese memory chip manufacturer out of business.

The criminal case is USA v.

Sessions accused China of reneging on a 2015 agreement between Xi and former U.S. President Barack Obama that neither country would conduct economic espionage over the internet for the objective of "providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors".

"Obviously that commitment has not been met", Sessions said.

Jinhua is a state-owned enterprise of the PRC, funded entirely by the Chinese government, and established in February 2016 for the sole objective of designing, developing, and manufacturing DRAM. The Trump administration imposed restrictions on technology exports to Fujian as part of the crackdown. -Chinese research, said Sacks. Pompeo set the tone in a June speech where he accused China of an "unprecedented level of larceny" of intellectual property.

This article was written by Ellen Nakashima, a reporter for The Washington Post.

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