Monday, October 06, 2008, 10/06/2008 10:23:00 AM

Taiwan Semiconductor Manucturing Company Settles UniRAM Trade Secrets Matters

By Todd
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reached a settlement agreement with UniRAM Technology to settle a dispute regarding trade secrets alleged by UniRAM, according to a TSMC filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE). No financial details were disclosed.

Last year, a jury returned a verdict in which it concluded that TSMC had misappropriated trade secrets relating to embedded DRAM technology from UniRAM, TSMC's former customer. In 1996, 1999 and 2000, UniRAM Technology Inc., entered into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturer Corporation. The agreements stipulated that UniRAM would share certain design information about embedded DRAM semiconductors that it had designed in order to conduct a dialogue between the two companies regarding the potential for mass production of the semiconductors.

As the designs were being revealed to TSMC it entered into an agreement to manufacture embedded DRAM semiconductors designed by one of UniRAM's competitors, Monolithic System Technology (MoSys), Sunnyvale. UniRAM sued TSMC and MoSys for misappropriating its trade secrets and breaching its contract, alleging that TSMC disclosed its semiconductor design to MoSys so that MoSys could incorporate the design into plans it had developed for its own semiconductor. Prior to trial, UniRAM settled with MoSys for $2.4 million.

The jury awarded UniRAM US$30.5 million.

In May 2008, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California made another judgment in favor of UniRAM, and although TSMC appealed, the judgment will now be vacated and all the trade secrets claims asserted by UniRAM are fully and finally settled, according to the new settlement agreement.

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