GlobalFoundries And TSMC Settle Patent Infringement Differences

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Kiss and make up. Legal hostilities between GlobalFoundries and TSMC have been settled

Taiwan-based TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd) and US-based GlobalFoundries have kissed and made up, after the two chipmakers agreed to settle their legal differences.

Earlier this month TSMC filed multiple lawsuits against GlobalFoundries in the US, Germany and Singapore for its alleged “ongoing infringement” of 25 patents related to its 40nm, 28nm, 22nm, 14nm, and 12nm node processes.

That move came in response to Santa-Clara-based GlobalFoundries, which had slapped TSMC in August with lawsuits in the US and Germany, alleging that it had infringed its intellectual property for its 7nm, 10nm, 12nm, 16nm, 28nm manufacturing processes. It had sought for ‘significant damages’ for the alleged infringements.

Cross-licensing

But now according to Reuters, on Monday both parties agreed to dismiss all patent litigations between themselves and those that involve their customers.

It is reported that TSMC and GlobalFoundries will cross-license each other’s patents as well as those patents that will be filed during the next ten years, the companies said in a joint statement.

This resolution guarantees GF and TSMC freedom to operate and ensures that their respective customers will continue to have access to each foundry’s complete array of technologies and services, the two companies announced.

“We are pleased to have quickly reached this settlement that acknowledges the strength of our respective intellectual property,” said Thomas Caulfield, CEO of GF. “Today’s announcement enables both of our companies to focus on innovation and to better serve our clients around the world.”

“This agreement between GF and TSMC secures GF’s ability to grow and is a win for the entire semiconductor industry which is at the core of today’s global economy,” he added.

There was no word on whether there had been any financial settlements.

Chip wars

“The semiconductor industry has always been highly competitive, driving the players to pursue innovation that enriched the lives of millions of people around the world,” noted Sylvia Fang, General Counsel for TSMC.

“TSMC has invested tens of billions of dollars towards innovation to reach our leading position today,” Fang added. “The resolution is a positive development that keeps our focus on advancing the needs of our customers for technologies that will continue to bring innovation to life, enabling the entire semiconductor industry to thrive and prosper.”

GlobalFoundries is a contract chip maker that grew into one of the world’s second-largest semiconductor manufacturer, after it spun out of AMD’s former microprocessor business back in 2009.

It competes directly with Taiwan-based TSMC, the largest independent semiconductor foundry.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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