More controversy in the DRAM market as Chinese upstarts are now also accused of stealing trade secrets from Samsung and SK Hynix. Previously, Micron accused Chinese DRAM maker Fujian Jin Hua IC of stealing DRAM IP via chip foundry UMC. Full details Korea Times, which implies the Chinese government could be involved in the patent theft. The site says the anti-trust investigation of Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron could be a way to pressure the firms into sharing patented technologies with Chinese chip firms.
"Samsung Electronics and SK hynix have become the target of industrial espionage by Chinese memory chip manufacturers. In semiconductors, patents are critical to the cost structure. The companies have to protect what they have spent decades building. The result is Chinese companies are attempting to infringe on Samsung and SK patents," said an official directly involved with the issue.
"Without intellectual property, you can't become a meaningful player. You need brand-new technology and you have to have capability for large-scale production. Also, you should be qualified for product specifications and designs and to meet demanding customer application requests. All of these can be done with intellectual property that has been built over the course of decades. Chinese companies aren't ready for this," said a Samsung engineer who asked not to be identified because he wasn't authorized to officially speak to the media. "Chinese companies are finding the development of DRAM and flash-memory manufacturing processes is more difficult to than they thought."