TSMC Slams Meritless GlobalFoundries IP Suit As Patent Troll Money Grab

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GlobalFoundries rocked the tech industry yesterday when it announced that it had filed multiple lawsuits in the United States and in Germany alleging patent infringement abuses by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and its partners/customers. At the heart of the lawsuits are 16 patents covering 28nm, 16nm, 12nm, 10nm, and 7nm product lines.

“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," wrote GlobalFoundries SVP Gregg Barlett in a statement yesterday. "This action is critical to halt Taiwan Semiconductor’s unlawful use of our vital assets and to safeguard the American and European manufacturing base.” 

Not surprisingly, TSMC is coming back swinging against the allegations and the multiple lawsuits. In fact, TSMC says that the claims put forth by GlobalFoundries are simply "baseless" and that it will "vigorously defend" itself against the lawsuits.

TSMC Headquarters

TSMC contends that it doesn't need to infringe on the patents of others, noting that it "invests billions of dollars each year to independently develop its world-class, leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing technologies." TSMC also points out that it sits on a war chest of over 37,000 patents (worldwide) and has been among the top 10 companies with regards to patents granted by the USPTO for the past three years.

The company also feigned surprise that GlobalFoundries would pull out the nuclear option, writing, "We are disappointed to see a foundry peer resort to meritless lawsuits instead of competing in the marketplace with technology. We will fight vigorously, using any and all options, to protect our proprietary technologies."

There is a lot at stake here, with GlobalFoundries naming TSMC customers like NVIDIA, Google, Apple, ASUS, Qualcomm, Lenovo, and Broadcom in the lawsuits. 

GlobalFoundries is seeking an import ban on infringing products which would include NVIDIA entire family of GPUs, Apple A-Series SoCs, and Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs that power the vast majority of smartphones sold around the globe.