Paul van Gerven
27 August 2019

Globalfoundries (GF) has filed lawsuits in Germany and the US against TSMC and 19 companies that rely on ICs being manufactured there, among which tech giants such as Apple, Google, Qualcomm and Samsung. The foundry claims TSMC infringes on 16 of its semiconductor manufacturing patents and demands all products that incorporate these technologies be banned from being sold in Germany and the US. Additionally, it seeks damages from TSMC. According to GF, the lawsuits have been filed to protect its investments, assets and intellectual property, which will help to ensure that semiconductor manufacturing remains a competitive industry for the benefit of its clients.

“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 US and more than 6 billion dollars 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,” said Gregg Bartlett, GF’s senior vice president of engineering and technology.

“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,” Bartlett added.

TSMC is reviewing the complaints filed by GF, but “is confident that GF’s allegations are baseless. We’re 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’ll fight vigorously, using any and all options, to protect our proprietary technologies,” a written statement says.

A year ago, GF threw in the towel (link in Dutch) as far as leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing goes. It halted 7nm development, shifting focus to 14nm and 12nm processes for RF, IoT and automotive applications. At the same time, AMD – from which GF was divested – announced it would have its advanced chips manufactured at TSMC. AMD is not among the companies being sued.