Micron stock falls after Chinese court bans sale of its memory chips


US chipmaker Micron Technology Inc said on Thursday a temporary Chinese ban on a patent infringement lawsuit against the company would hurt its quarterly revenue by 1 percent.

In a patent ruling in favour of UMC, the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court of the People's Republic of China issued a preliminary injunction stopping Micron from selling 26 products, including dynamic random access memory and Nand flash memory-related products, UMC said on Tuesday.

Jinhua said Micron's "unbridled behaviour" had caused "irreparable damage" to the firm and it will keep monitoring any other products that used Micron's chips. "Micron will not be commenting further until the company has received and reviewed documentation from the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court of China".

This prompted UMC to countersue on January 12, filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Micron at the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court. Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron have been leading this market by supplying memory semiconductors to home appliance, smartphone and server companies.

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The lawsuit followed Micron's complaint in December against Chinese government-backed Fujian and UMC in a California court alleging misappropriation of its trade secrets and other misconduct.

Since the fourth fiscal quarter is underway, Micron anticipates that the negative impact to revenue this quarter relating to the injunction will be roughly 1%, and the company continues to expect revenue to be within the previously guided range of $8.0 billion to $8.4 billion.

According to UMC, the ruling on Tuesday by the Chinese court showed it has initially judged Micron to have stolen technology from the Taiwanese company.

Li Yiqiang, partner at law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, said normally courts set a very high bar for granting injunctions in complex patent infringement cases but the trade tensions may have given the court more leeway in this case. Jason Wang, co-president of UMC, stated, "UMC is pleased with today's decision".

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USA analysts who have been recommending Micron's stock as it racks up record profits amid one of the strongest periods of demand in the memory chip industry's 50-year history, expressed relief at Micron's analysis. Micron shares fell 6.6% to $50.87 in recent trading, after touching an intraday low of $50.10.

Other chipmakers also gained.

Under the Chinese yuan-denominated A share listing plan announced last week, wafer foundry Hejian will merge with two of its own units - contract chipmaker United Semiconductor (Xiamen) Co. and integrated circuit designer UnitedDS Semiconductor (Shandong) Co. - to issue 400 million new shares.

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