Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Micron's Mounting Legal Bills: Micron Technology has seen a surge in legal actions in recent years — ones which also have become more complex and potentially serious.

Losing just one current lawsuit — a claim that the company is improperly using someone else's technology — could cost it hundreds of millions of dollars. The world's third-largest maker of electronic memory — and the Treasure Valley's largest employer — faces more than 25 class-action lawsuits, claims of fraud and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

And that's just for starters.

Micron's legal costs are escalating as it faces a tangle of lawsuits that have erupted in the past two years. The Justice Department in June 2002 began a continuing investigation on price-fixing, prompting two dozen civil lawsuits around the country that have been consolidated into one case in California.

-- There is a strange comment made by a corporate counsel in the above article: the counsel worries that patent infringement cases could drive American businesses offshore. "There are some real concerns because there's an ever-increasing number of (patent) cases and there's a trend toward going after major manufacturers, particularly in the U.S. It makes it difficult to be a manufacturer here. We could be an IP (intellectual property) company and have someone in China manufacture for us. These trends ultimately are making it more difficult for U.S. manufacturing companies."

My question is how legal ramifications are avoided by moving offshore? If you make, use, sell or import infringing technologies, you are liable just the same as everyone else. Granted, there are some tricks to skirt around certain damages by locating offshore, the economic impact can still be just as devastating . . .


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