American semiconductor fabricator GlobalFoundries made news last year when it announced that it was bowing out of the 7nm race. GlobalFoundries was AMD's attempt at in-house chip fabrication, but unfortunate timing for the project didn't let it reach full potential. Today, in a press release, GlobalFoundries has announced that it's suing Taiwanese fab TSMC for violation of patents. Take a look below for more details.
GlobalFoundries Sues TSMC And Its Customers For Infringing On 16 Of The Fab's Patents
In an interesting development, GlobalFoundries has decided to sue TSMC, Apple, Qualcomm, Broadcom, nVidia and other companies for violating its patents. The primary target of the fab's lawsuit is TSMC, as GloFo claims that the Taiwanese fab has violated no less than 16 patents. Additionally, since Apple and other companies are the ones that import products with TSMC's products, they're also in GlobalFoundries' crosshairs.
The fab has chosen five courts/tribunals for filing the suits. Three of these (US International Trade Comission, District Court for Delaware, District Court for Western Texas) are in the US, and two of these (Regional Courts of Mannheim, and Düsseldorf) are in Germany. Total number of defendants in the case is 20. The defendants have been divided into four categories covering foundry, chip designers, distributors and consumer product sellers.
The patents, as you can see above, cover a lot of different areas in semiconductor fabrication, and GlobalFoundries claims that TSMC's 7nm, 10nm, 12nm, 16nm and 28nm process nodes violate the patents. The bulk of the claims (13) will be filed in the District Court of West Texas, against defendants that include OnePlus as well.
“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,” said Greg Barlett, senior VP engineering and technology at GlobalFoundries.
The list of patents mentioned by GlobalFoundries is diverse, and the fab's claims include a lot of companies. If GF's claims are proven right by the court, then we could very well see serious rammifications in the tech world. However, given the speed at which these things are processed, don't be on the lookout for any fast decisions.
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