GlobalFoundries Sues TSMC Over Patent Infringement; Apple, Qualcomm, Others Named Defendants

Monday, August 26th, 2019 - Semiconductors, Teknologi

GlobalFoundries Sues TSMC Over Patent Infringement; Apple, Qualcomm, Others Named Defendants

GlobalFoundries has filed a lawsuit against TSMC and its clients in the USA and Germany alleging the world’s largest contract maker of semiconductors of infringing 16 of its patents. Among defendants, GlobalFoundries named numerous fabless developers of chips, including Apple, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and many others. The plaintiff seeks damages from TSMC and wants courts to ban shipments of products that use semiconductors allegedly infringing its patents into the USA and Germany.

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GlobalFoundries says that TSMC infringed 16 of its patents covering various aspects of chip manufacturing (for details, please see the table below), including those chips that use FinFET transistors. In particular, the company claims that TSMC’s 7 nm, 10 nm, 12 nm, 16 nm, and 28 nm nodes use its intellectual property. Considering the fact that the said manufacturing processes are used to make more than a half of TSMC’s chips (based on revenue share), potential damages seeked by GlobalFoundries may count billions of dollars.

GlobalFoundries filed complaints in the US 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 its lawsuits GlobalFoundries demands damages from TSMC and wants courts to bar products that allegedly infringe its rights from being imported into the U.S. and Germany.

Among the defendants, GlobalFoundries names multiple designers of SoCs, resellers of semiconductors, as well as suppliers of actual devices. Among the big names accused of using GlobalFoundries IP are Apple, ASUS, Broadcom, Cisco, Google, NVIDIA, Lenovo, Motorola, and Motorola. Assuming that the courts take GlobalFoundries’ side, they may ban sales of Apple’s iPhones, NVIDIA GeForce-based graphics cards, smartphones running Qualcomm's chips made by TSMC, various routers, as well as devices (e.g., PCs, smartphones) by ASUS and Lenovo containing chips made by TSMC.

GlobalFoundries vs. TSMC et al
Fabless Chip DesignersMakers of Consumer ProductsDistributors of Electronic Components
Apple
Broadcom
Mediatek
NVIDIA
Qualcomm
Xilinx
Arista
ASUS
BLU
Cisco
Google
HiSense
Lenovo
Motorola
TCL
OnePlus
Avnet/EBV
Digi-key
Mouser

GlobalFoundries says that it wants to protect its IP investments in the US and Europe. Here is what Gregg Bartlett, SVP of engineering and technology at GlobalFoundries, had to say:

“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. 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."

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Source: GlobalFoundries

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