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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  • Marlin1975 - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    Wow, some of those sound pretty weak, and thats just the surface.

    Makes me think Global Foundries is in worse shape than they are letting on. And I thought they were in pretty bad shape before this lawsuit.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    Have you personally evaluated the 37,000 patents TSMC claims it has?

    Your post sounds pretty weak to me. One of the things that's most annoying about tech comments is when people post with certainty about things they know next to nothing, or nothing, about.
    Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    Well played

    quote-
    response Oxford Guy to Martin1975

    *drops microphone.. turns & walks away* -end quote
    Reply
  • Cakemaster - Friday, August 30, 2019 - link

    Really? You're going to get all condescending and rude over that? The guy isn't even implying any kind of certainty :( Reply
  • Cakemaster - Friday, August 30, 2019 - link

    I mean, am I missing something here? Did he edit his comment after your reply? As far as I can tell, you can't edit your comments here once you've posted them. Reply
  • foxmusics - Saturday, August 31, 2019 - link

    Well played Reply
  • SoCalBoomer - Wednesday, September 04, 2019 - link

    Wow - he merely said "some" - and I actually agree (at least in the general description given) - and you extend it to all 37K. Not "well played" at all. That's weak.

    Let's look at US 8,581,348 - which is HUGELY weak. It describes having multiple interlinked transistors on a chip. Tell me that isn't weak. . .and yes, I looked at the actual patent (which is linked).
    Reply
  • Gondalf - Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - link

    Anyway they will proceed. The patents are few but apparently strategic for manufacturing.
    In my knowledge. after a weak beginnig after 20nm, TSMC accelerated a lot. There was a lot of free money from Governors and Apple to develop fast new nodes.
    It is not unlikely they chose the shorter street....but there is one or more Judges behind this in upcoming months
    Reply
  • El Sama - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    "majority of chip developers are it slients." Should be "it's clients". Just trying to help. Reply
  • eddman - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - link

    Maybe you should help yourself first? "its", not "it's". Reply

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