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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  • lejeczek - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    Absolutely sue them yes!!!!

    Amounts!!! of Intellectual Property China (and others) have stolen is...
    well, can't measure it even if you tried your hardest. Not just US but
    Europe too, ban them completely from selling any tech in US and Europe.
    These thieves, especially thieving regime of China, continue destroying
    whole industries by the means of steal-and-copy-counterfeit art.
    Korea used to be like that as well, and yes some will rush to shout, as if it was a discovery, that TSMC is Taiwanese... really...

    I wonder how much, and I worry that everything, have do to with this ill behaviour Chinese mentality. I cannot recall who and how exactly that study, or an experiment rather, was done, (I'm old and my memory can fool me) you must have heard of it. They invited anonymously people of varied nationalities and it was something about the money I think, cash, where they let people take and keep I think some cash. There was some trick to it I cannot remember, but... !!! Surprise surprise, most truthful were Russians.. and Chinese??? the opposite end of the spectrum they were.
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    So you’re saying that they should be sued because Chinese companies often steal IP, while simultaneously admitting that they aren’t a Chinese company? Nice little contradiction there.

    Nearly every major motherboard and graphics card company is based in Taiwan. If Taiwanese companies wanted to steal from the top computer electronics manufacturers, they’d need to steal from other Taiwanese companies.
    Reply
  • Gondalf - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    We are speaking of particular manufacturing technologies, other Taiwanese companies have not relevance here. GF is claiming some IP infringiments of Common Plataform IP patents portfolio.
    In fact GF is not calling in courts Samsung.
    Anyway the fast TSMC acceleration in Fin Fet processes development is suspect. Sometimes stealing tech from other Companies halve the developing times. For example China is an artist in this pratice.
    Reply
  • errorr - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    I am pretty sure Samsung cross-licensed a bunch of patents considering the GF 14nm is largely the one Samsung developed. Reply
  • lejeczek - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    ah.. you did not read at all or.. you did not read.
    I know, I knew some would shout that TSMC is Taiwanese and not Chinese both of which are not the same, to which my proposed implied reply was - yes, they are the same! (do not even bother to ask continental Chinamen for you will get yourself in trouble).
    And it's that Chinese mentality which is root of the problem. Almost everybody lies but over there in China, everything suggests, it's a "national" issue.

    Lastly, I hear you must be young, maybe very very young, you can this one simple thing - ask yourself (home work properly) how old semiconductor industry and about its origins (here you'll learn about places in Asia) and where was and what was China & Taiwan doing... lets say somewhere half way of the evolution of this industry.
    My man that stuff does not go just 10 or 15 years back!
    Reply
  • MandiEd - Saturday, August 31, 2019 - link

    There is no 'Taiwan'. Only Republic of China and People's Republic of China. Both of them are Chinese and they share characters of Chinese. However, I don't see why this is relevant here. Reply
  • bigvlada - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    Newsflash: US and Imperial Germany stole patents from British Empire. Japan and South Korea stole patents from the "West". China stole patents from all of the above. Every advanced industrial nation had a phase when they stole patents and know how from others. Reply
  • lejeczek - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    Yes, true, but my man... If steal-copy-counterfeit art is something one can do for a living then China does it on an industrial scale!!

    I could tell you guys first-hand real stories but work I do is for public sector and I'm not sure I'm allowed to go into more details which I'd love to do.
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    "If steal-copy-counterfeit art is something one can do for a living then China does it on an industrial scale!!"

    don't get too high on your horse. if red-blooded Americans hadn't stolen virtually everything from the Brits in the 19th century, the USofA would just be another 3rd world country.
    Reply
  • lejeczek - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    No high horse for me my man, me, I was born and since lived most of my live in 3rd world county. Reply

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