TSMC Fires Back At GlobalFoundries With Countersuit Following IP Theft Allegations

TSMC Headquarters
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is countersuing rival semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries, alleging several instances of patent infringement related to the company's 40-nanometer, 28-nanometer, 22-nanometer, 14-nanometer, and 12-nanometer process nodes. As part of the lawsuit, TSMC is seeking "substantial monetary damages."

The lawsuit appears to be in retaliation to multiple lawsuits GlobalFoundries filed in the US and Germany back on August 26. In its complaints, GlobalFoundries accused TSMC of infringing on 16 of its patents related to its 28nm, 16nm, 12nm, 10nm, and its most recent 7nm production lines. GlobalFoundries asked for an injunction on certain products that use chip made by TSMC, including Apple's iPhones and even NVIDIA's GPUs.

At the time, TSMC responded by calling the lawsuits "baseless" and vowed to to "vigorously defend" itself against the accusations. TSMC also said it was "disappointed to see a foundry peer resort to meritless lawsuits instead of competing in the marketplace with technology," which essentially boiled down to calling GlobalFoundries a patent troll.

Now this is turning into a tit-for-tat ordeal, with countersuits filed in the US, Germany, and Singapore. TSMC said it is "ready for battle in the courts." TSMC also said it "demands injunctions to stop GlobalFoundries' manufacture and sale of infringing semiconductor products."

GlobalFoundries has responded to the countersuits, saying it is not intimidated by the "retaliatory litigation."

"TSMC has long used its dominant market position to exert pressure on its smaller competitors, and the retaliatory litigation filed today is in keeping with that history. We have confidence in our position and the legal process, and we are not intimidated by these actions," said Sam Azar, a GlobalFoundries executive.

As an interesting wrinkle to all this, both fabs produce wafers for AMD's Ryzen and EPYC processors. GlobalFoundries did not mention AMD in its lawsuits, however, and it's not clear which exact products TSMC is seeking an injunction.