On July 4, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Hao said at a regular press conference that this should be a commercial case concerning intellectual property protection. As to whether this is related to Sino-US trade friction, he believes that there is no necessary connection between the two.
According to public information, as of mid-2017, Samsung, Micron Technology and Hynix accounted for 96% of the global DRAM chip market share. Well-known economist Song Qinghui told the "Daily Economic News" reporter that nearly half of Micron's revenue comes from China, and some of its products are banned from selling in China, which will have a certain impact on the company's business development. At the same time, this incident is likely to have an impact on its customers in China.
Xiong Haifeng, president of Shanghai Shixin Communication Technology Co., Ltd., believes that the ruling reflects the ability of domestic companies to seek part of the technology industry in the chip industry.
Not the final litigation result
On July 3, the plaintiff Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Fujian Jinhua) and Taiwan Lianhua Electronics Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Taiwan Unicom) announced on the official website that the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court ruled that Micron Semiconductor Sales (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Micron Shanghai) immediately stopped selling and imported more than ten Crucial SSDs, memory modules and related chips, and deleted them.websiteInformation about the above products, such as promotional advertisements, purchase links, etc. At the same time, it was ruled that Micron Semiconductor (Xi'an) Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Micron Xi'an) immediately stopped manufacturing, selling and importing several memory products.
In the statement, Fujian Jinhua said that the company had filed a lawsuit against Micron's own brand Crucial MX300 2.5-inch SSD525GB solid state drive and Crucial DDR4 2133 8G notebook memory. Then in the industry's authoritative advanced laboratory to continue the fine and rigorous layer-by-layer analysis, and found that more than ten own brand products of Micron are suspected of infringing the company's patents, including several DDR4 notebooks and desktop memory modules, MX500 series 2TB, 1TB, 500GB, 250GB 2.5-inch solid-state hard disk, and related infringing chips, compare the acquired features with the technical features in Jinhua's claim, and determine the technical solutions of these products fall into Jinhua patents. The scope of protection required.
Fujian Jinhua also emphasized: "The infringement of Micron is unscrupulous" "Mega has caused irreparable harm to Jinhua." Taiwan’s UMC’s co-president said in his official statement that Taiwan’s UMC welcomed the court’s decision. Taiwan UMC has invested heavily in intellectual property rights, and the company will fully blame the companies that damage intellectual property rights.
On July 4th, the reporter of "Daily Economic News" called Fujian Jinhua to understand the situation. Fujian Jinhua said that the company's leaders are all on a business trip, and the relevant litigation situation and subsequent progress will be released in time on the company's official website.
In fact, the friction between the three parties has been around for a long time. On May 13, 2016, Taiwan Unicom announced that it would be jointly with Fujian Jinhua.DevelopmentDRAM-related process technology has caused a lot of attention in the industry. In December 2017, Micron accused Fujian Jinhua of claiming that two former employees of the company had joined the Jinhua with Fujian technical information after leaving the company. Therefore, the Taiwan court in China accused Fujian Jinhua of infringing confidentiality and at the same time “will not be responsible for management”. Fujian Jinhua Partner Taiwan UMC was listed as the defendant.
In January of this year, Fujian Jinhua and Taiwan UMC also filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Micron Technology, involving four patents. After six months of trial, on July 3, the Fujian Intermediate People's Court officially ruled that a "prosecution ban" was issued.
It is understood that the ban is not the final solution to the dispute, but only temporarily protects the applicant. Once the result of the adjudication of the lawsuit in which it is attached conflicts with the content of the injunction, the content within the scope of the injunction and the outcome of the judgment automatically loses its effectiveness. However, the results of the injunction ban can be executed as soon as they are delivered.
Micron’s business in China is threatened
Then, did the respondent Meiguang Shanghai and Meiguang Xi'an have any objections to the above ruling? On July 4th, the reporter of "Daily Economic News" tried to contact Micron. After listening to the reporter's interview request, the staff of Micron Shanghai wiring said, "This week the company's legal affairs are on vacation, so no one can respond to this question." The staff of Meiguang Xi'an told reporters: "Xi'an has no external business and does not accept interviews. It is mainly responsible for manufacturing."
According to Reuters, Micron issued a statement on the morning of July 4, saying that "Micron has not received the preliminary ban mentioned by Taiwan UMC and Fujian Jinhua in the July 3 statement." Micron Technology said that the assessment came from Fuzhou. The company will not comment on this before the documents of the Intermediate People's Court.
It is worth noting that in the latest earnings report for the third quarter of FY2018, Micron's quarterly revenue was US$7.8 billion, up 40% year-on-year; net profit was US$3.8 billion, up 131% year-on-year.
Among them, DRAM contributed 71% of the company's operating income. According to the company's 2017 annual report, its sales in China reached US$10.39 billion, accounting for 51.12%.
Xiong Haifeng told the reporter of "Daily Economic News" that the incident had a great impact on the storage industry. The DRAM memory chip market is currently dominated by Samsung, Micron Technology and Hynix.
"This ruling implies that domestic companies are capable and are seeking part of the technology in the chip industry." Xiong Haifeng pointed out: "In addition, the future of the storage market is very large, and the possibility of domestic chip companies rising and anti-repression in the future will be Greatly enhanced. This incident is only the beginning, and the anti-trapping measures of Chinese companies will not stop there."
The reporter found that DRAM is the most common system memory. In addition to being used as PC memory, it is widely used in various digital products such as printers and digital TVs. In the past two years, its prices have been leaping forward. In 2017 alone, DRAM memory prices rose by 47%, the biggest increase in nearly 30 years.
In terms of product gross margin, mobile memory and applications for smartphones are more widely used than PC memory, which has been at 30% to 40% of gross margin.serverMemory gross margins reach 50% to 60%.
According to SIA (American Semiconductor Industry Association) data, as of June this year, the global semiconductor market sales growth of more than 20% over the same 13 months. In the segmented industry, the growth rate of the storage industry is far ahead, with DRAM growth exceeding 50%.
In Song Qinghui’s view, it is somewhat overstated to say that this incident is a counterattack of the Chinese semiconductor industry. As far as it knows, the DRAM technology developed by Fujian Jinhua and Taiwan UMC is in the middle of the industry, and will not pose a threat to memory giants such as Micron.
From a global perspective, the United States, South Korea and other countries in the field of semiconductor investment are not small. According to market research firm IC Insights, about half of the list of the top 18 companies in the global semiconductor industry with more than $1 billion in R&D investment in 2017 came from the US, while Samsung and Hynix two Korean semiconductor companies invested up to $5.144 billion. .
However, China is also making efforts. IC Insights related reports show that China will invest 11 billion US dollars in the semiconductor field in 2018, accounting for 10.6% of the world. In 2015, China’s capital expenditure in the semiconductor industry was only $2.2 billion.
Song Qinghui believes that the fact that Micron’s infringement of Fujian Jinhua has not been finally recognized by the court, and the domestic arrogance should not spread.