Top Chinese semiconductor foundry SMIC is in talks to settle a US court case that found it guilty of stealing trade secrets from Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker.
The California jury ruling could cost SMIC more than $1 billion in damages to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, a lawyer for TSMC said. Lawyers have a tendency that way. Outrageous exaggeration.
SMIC, which has a market capitalization of $1.10 billion, should have a result from the jury next week on the compensation amount from its negotiations with TSMC.
Trading in shares of SMIC has been suspended since Wednesday pending a price-sensitive statement.
A source close to SMIC said the company aimed to reach a settlement by early next week, and hoped for a resumption of trading in its shares by next Wednesday.
A second source added that SMIC was trying to keep the final settlement amount in a similar range to another case several years ago between the two companies. In that case, unrelated to the current one, SMIC paid TSMC $175 million to settle claims of intellectual property theft.
TSMC accused SMIC of hiring away about 180 TSMC employees to staff SMIC’s Shanghai operations in 2000, and of telling new hires to bring documents showing how to set up a foundry, make chips and other design rules from TSMC.
Reuters reports that SMIC competes with TSMC, UMC and Chartered Semiconductor.