TSMC has responded to GlobalFoundries accusations of patents infringements. The world’s largest foundry said that it would defend itself in courts and that it considered allegations as baseless. The contract maker of semiconductors said that throughout its history it was granted 37,000 patents and naturally considers itself one of the leaders in the industry.

On Monday GlobalFoundries said that TSMC, a number of its customers, as well as makers of various products infringed 16 of its patents covering various aspects of chip manufacturing. In particular, GlobalFoundries claims that TSMC’s 7 nm, 10 nm, 12 nm, 16 nm, and 28 nm nodes illegally use its intellectual property. Among defendants, the company named Apple, Broadcom, Mediatek, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Xilinx and many others. GlobalFoundries seeks damages from TSMC and wants courts to ban shipments of products that use infringing semiconductors into the USA and Germany.

GlobalFoundries vs. TSMC et al
Fabless Chip Designers Consumer Product Manufacturers Electronic Component Distributors
Apple
Broadcom
Mediatek
NVIDIA
Qualcomm
Xilinx
Arista
ASUS
BLU
Cisco
Google
HiSense
Lenovo
Motorola
TCL
OnePlus
Avnet/EBV
Digi-key
Mouser

Quite naturally, TSMC denies any allegations and claims that it will defend itself in courts. The company stresses that it spends billions of dollars on R&D and has been granted 37,000 patents worldwide. Typically, high-tech companies counter-sue each other in patent infringement cases, so it will not be surprising if TSMC decides to sue GlobalFoundries. In the end, this is what patents are for. Meanwhile, unlike GlobalFoundries, TSMC will unlikely sue fabless designers of semiconductors that use the former’s services to a large degree because the vast majority of chip developers are it slients.

The statement by TSMC reads as follows:

TSMC is in the process of reviewing the complaints filed by GlobalFoundries on August 26, but is confident that GlobalFoundries’ allegations are baseless. As a leading innovator, TSMC invests billions of dollars each year to independently develop its world-class, leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing technologies. As a result, TSMC has established one of the largest semiconductor portfolios with more than 37,000 patents worldwide and a top 10 ranking for US patent grants for 3 consecutive years since 2016. We are disappointed to see a foundry peer resort to meritless lawsuits instead of competing in the marketplace with technology. TSMC is proud of its technology leadership, manufacturing excellence, and unwavering commitment to customers. We will fight vigorously, using any and all options, to protect our proprietary technologies.

GlobalFoundries vs. TSMC et al, GF's Patents in the Cases
Title Patent No. Inventors
Bit Cell With Double Patterned Metal Layer Structures US 8,823,178 Juhan Kim, Mahbub Rashed
Semiconductor device with transistor local interconnects US 8,581,348 Mahbub Rashed, Steven Soss, Jongwook Kye, Irene Y. Lin, James Benjamin Gullette, Chinh Nguyen, Jeff Kim, Marc Tarabbia, Yuansheng Ma, Yunfei Deng, Rod Augur, Seung-Hyun Rhee, Scott Johnson, Subramani KengeriSuresh Venkatesan
Semiconductor device with transistor local interconnects US 9,355,910 Mahbub Rashed, Irene Y. Lin, Steven Soss, Jeff Kim, Chinh Nguyen, Marc Tarabbia, Scott Johnson, Subramani Kengeri, Suresh Venkatesan
Introduction of metal impurity to change workfunction of conductive electrodes US 7,425,497 Michael P. Chudzik, Bruce B. Doris, Supratik Guha, Rajarao Jammy, Vijay Narayanan, Vamsi K. Paruchuri, Yun Y. Wang,Keith Kwong Hon Wong
Semiconductor device having contact layer providing electrical connections US 8,598,633 Marc Tarabbia, James B. Gullette, Mahbub RashedDavid S. Doman, Irene Y. Lin, Ingolf Lorenz, Larry Ho, Chinh Nguyen, Jeff Kim, Jongwook Kye, Yuansheng MaYunfei Deng, Rod Augur, Seung-Hyun Rhee, Jason E. Stephens, Scott Johnson, Subramani Kengeri, Suresh Venkatesan
Method of forming a metal or metal nitride interface layer between silicon nitride and copper US 6,518,167 Lu You, Matthew S. Buynoski, Paul R. Besser, Jeremias D. Romero, Pin-Chin, Connie Wang, Minh Q. Tran
Structures of and methods and tools for forming in-situ metallic/dielectric caps for interconnects US 8,039,966 Chih-Chao Yang, Chao-Kun Hu
Introduction of metal impurity to change workfunction of conductive electrodes US 7,750,418 Michael P. Chudzik, Bruce B. Doris, Supratik Guha, Rajarao Jammy, Vijay Narayanan, Vamsi K. Paruchuri, Yun Y. Wang, Keith Kwong Hon Wong
Methods of forming FinFET devices with a shared gate structure US 8,936,986 Andy C. Wei, Dae Geun Yang
Semiconductor device with stressed fin sections US 8,912,603 Scott Luning, Frank Scott Johnson
Multiple dielectric FinFET structure and method US 7,378,357 William F. Clark, Jr., Edward J. Nowak
Bit cell with double patterned metal layer structures US 9,105,643 Juhan Kim, Mahbub Rashed
Complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) device having gate structures connected by a metal gate conductor US 9,082,877 Yue Liang, Dureseti Chidambarrao, Brian J. Greene, William K. Henson, Unoh Kwon, Shreesh Narasimha, and Xiaojun Yu
Hybrid contact structure with low aspect ratio contacts in a semiconductor device DE 102011002769 Kai Frohberg, Ralf Richter
Complementary transistors comprising high-k metal gate electrode structures and epitaxially formed semiconductor materials in the drain and source areas DE 102011004320 Gunda Beernink, Markus Lenski
Semiconductor device with transistor local interconnects DE 102012219375 Mahbub Rashed, Irene Y. Lin, Steven Soss, Jeff Kim, Chinh Nguyen, Marc Tarabbia, Scott Johnson, Subramani Kengeri, Suresh Venkatesan

Related Reading:

Source: TSMC

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  • El Sama - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    You are correct sir. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    tu quoque fallacy Reply
  • eddman - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    Mamat Kunem fallacy Reply
  • BedfordTim - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    Unfortunately you picked a special case. "It's" is used for it is, while the possessive is "its". Reply
  • twtech - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    What's interesting about this is that AMD is not named as a defendant. I wonder what the specific reasons for that are?

    Is it because AMD is a customer? Is it because AMD has rights/cross-licensing with GF IP? Or is it because they think that taking on AMD would make their case more difficult?
    Reply
  • jeremyshaw - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    All of the above are likely true, but also, AMD is still a current client. Reply
  • spkay31 - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    AMD's chiplet cpu code design with Global Foundries core IO chip is both technically ingenious as well as a very saavy business decision to stay engaged with both manufacturers. Reply
  • FreckledTrout - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    It was but they likely AMD need to get that IO die shrunk down for Zen3 and GloFlo has nothing to offer. I say this because the APU's for laptops and tablets won't be competitive to Intel on power draw until that occurs. I see AMD leaving all GloFlo business in 2020. Reply
  • eek2121 - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    Likely 2021 or later. AMD IIRC is still producing Zen+ chips for another few months at minimum. They were producing Zen 1 well into the release of Zen 2 and only recently have Zen 1 products disappeared from the market. Current rumors suggest 2021 or 2022 as the year their contract with GloFo expires, which lines up with Zen 4 being launched, Zen 3 entering EOL, and Zen 2 production being stopped. Coincidentally that also will like be the first chip on a new socket, and the first one to support DDR5. Reply
  • drexnx - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    more likely the APUs will be 1 ccx monolithics entirely on 7nm vs. a seperate IO die and chiplets.

    laptops don't need anywhere near as much IO
    Reply

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