TSMC files patent countersuit against GlobalFoundries

October 01, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
TSMC files patent countersuit against GlobalFoundries
Foundry market leader TSMC (Hsinchu, Taiwan) has filed multiple law suits against rival GlobalFoundries Inc. alleging infringement of 25 patents.

The suits come just over a month after GlobalFoundries sued TSMC for patent infringement and have been filed in the United States, Germany and Singapore.

As is usual in such complaints, TSMC is demanding Globalfoundries be told to stop selling the products that are alleged to infringe, and pay substantial damages. And if GlobalFoundries is found to have wilfully infringed there is the possibility, at least in the US, of triple damages being awarded.

TSMC said infringements are present in GlobalFoundries' 40nm, 28nm, 22nm, 14nm, and 12nm node processes and possibly other processes. The referenced nodes include processes that are bulk CMOS and FinFET at Globalfoundries, but also cites nodes that include fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FDSOI) processes.

TSMC, which controls about 50 percent of the foundry market, said the 25 patents cited relate to a diverse set of technologies, including FinFET designs, shallow trench isolation techniques, double patterning methods, seal rings and gate structures, and contact etch stop layer designs.

It remains unclear whether FDSOI processes are implicated in the patent suits. FDSOI is an alternative style of IC manufacturing to the FinFET, that has been pioneered by STMicroelectronics, GlobalFoundries and Samsung.

Next: GlobalFoundries position

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