GlobalFoundries (GF) has filed 25 lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany against 20 major companies alleging patent infringement of 16 of its semiconductor device and manufacturing technologies used by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSMC).

In filing the lawsuits, GF seeks orders that will prevent semiconductors produced with the allegedly infringing technology by Taiwan-based TSMC, the industry’s dominant semiconductor manufacturer, from being imported into the U.S. and Germany. These lawsuits require GF to name certain major customers of TSMC and downstream electronics companies, who, in most cases, are the actual importers of the products that incorporate the infringing TSMC technology. GF is also seeking significant damages from TSMC based on TSMC’s unlawful use of GF’s proprietary technology in its tens of billions of dollars of sales.

The lawsuits have been filed against 20 companies — the foundry itself (TSMC), for its 7nm, 10nm, 12nm, 16nm and 28nm technologies, together with fabless chip designers, electronic component distributors and consumer product manufacturers. The defendants named in the cases include Apple, Asus, Broadcom, Cisco, Google, HiSense, Lenovo, Mediatek, Motorola, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Xilinx. Distributors named in the lawsuits are Avnet/EBV, Digi-key and Mouser.

GF said it is filing these lawsuits to protect its investments, assets and intellectual property; the company said its actions will ensure that semiconductor manufacturing remains a competitive industry for the benefit of its clients.

 Gregg Bartlett

Gregg Bartlett

Protecting U.S. and European investments
Its senior vice president, engineering and technology, Gregg Bartlett, said, “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 U.S. and more than $6 billion 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.”

He added that while GF has been devoting billions of dollars to domestic research and development, TSMC has been unlawfully reaping the benefits of its 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.”

The lawsuits were filed in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the U.S. Federal District Courts in the Districts of Delaware and the Western District of Texas, and the Regional Courts of Dusseldorf and Mannheim in Germany.