GlobalFoundries sues TSMC and its clients

Posted on Tuesday, Aug 27 2019 @ 09:38 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Is legal action the next major business move of GlobalFoundries? The foundry just announced it's suing TSMC and TSMC clients in the US and in Germany. GlobalFoundries alleges that the Taiwanese foundry violated 16 GlobalFoundries patents.

The list of TSMc clients affected by the lawsuit includes Apple, Broadcom, Mediatek, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Xilinx, Avnet/EBV, Digi-key, Mouser, Arista, ASUS, BLU, Cisco, Google, HiSense, Lenovo, Motorola, TLC, and OnePlus.

The accused infringing technologies affect TSMC's 7nm, 10nm, 12nm, 16nm, and 28nm nodes. An overview of the patents can be found at GlobalFoundries (PDF). GlobalFoundries seeks damages and an important ban on products with the infringing technology into the U.S. and Germany.
GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF), the world’s leading specialty foundry based in the United States, today filed multiple lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany alleging that semiconductor manufacturing technologies used by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSMC) infringe 16 GF patents. The lawsuits were filed today in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the U.S. Federal District Courts in the Districts of Delaware and the Western District of Texas, and the Regional Courts of Dusseldorf and Mannheim in Germany.

In filing the lawsuits, GF seeks orders that will prevent semiconductors produced with the infringing technology by Taiwan-based TSMC, the dominant semiconductor manufacturer, from being imported into the U.S. and Germany. These lawsuits require GF to name certain major customers of TSMC and downstream electronics companies, who, in most cases, are the actual importers of the products that incorporate the infringing TSMC technology. GF also seeks significant damages from TSMC based on TSMC’s unlawful use of GF’s proprietary technology in its tens of billions of dollars of sales.

“While semiconductor manufacturing has continued to shift to Asia, GF has bucked the trend by investing heavily in the American and European semiconductor industries, spending more than $15 billion dollars in the last decade in the U.S. and more than $6 billion in Europe's largest semiconductor manufacturing fabrication facility. These lawsuits are aimed at protecting those investments and the US and European-based innovation that powers them,” said Gregg Bartlett, senior vice president, engineering and technology at GF. “For years, while we have been devoting billions of dollars to domestic research and development, TSMC has been unlawfully reaping the benefits of our investments. This action is critical to halt Taiwan Semiconductor’s unlawful use of our vital assets and to safeguard the American and European manufacturing base.”

GF is filing these lawsuits to protect its investments, assets and intellectual property, which will help to ensure that semiconductor manufacturing remains a competitive industry for the benefit of its clients.
Last year, GlobalFoundries dropped out of the cutting-edge semiconductor production race and dropped its 7nm development as it could not compete with TSMC (and to a smaller extend, Samsung).

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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