You are currently viewing SemiWiki as a guest which gives you limited access to the site. To view blog comments and experience other SemiWiki features you must be a registered member. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Files Patent Infringement Lawsuits

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Does anyone here think this is a good idea?

“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,” said Gregg Bartlett, senior vice president, engineering and technology at GF. “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. This action is critical to halt Taiwan Semiconductor’s unlawful use of our vital assets and to safeguard the American and European manufacturing base.”

40


 

Sunit Rikhi

New member
Dan, I was surprised not only by this announcement, but also by the list of patents being asserted. It is quite a broad sweep covering all nodes since 28nm and most applications. I can imaging the board of GF trying to monetize the extensive IP the "royalties" way now that GF has pivoted. This law suite signals a negotiation failure and therefore on the path to legal resolution. Is it going to be good for GF? That depends on the outcome of the case. Is it good for the industry? Why not? It is always good to kick the tires of the IP protection system that is a fundamental part of the industry since day 1.
 

hkwint

Member
It's interesting they chose TSMC as their target, since the breadth of the patent-portfolio they used to sue TSMC could also easily apply to Samsung, UMC or SMIC; maybe even Intel.

It makes sense not to pick Samsung, as Samsung has been the no 2. patent applicants in the US (after IBM) for years. Also, Samsung's patent (hired) lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to being defendants in patent infringement cases, both in the US and in Germany.

Could it be, that UMC / SMIC are already paying license fees to GloFo, but TSMC refuses?

Going after TSMC's customers also signals a certain level of desparation; normally this is only used to threaten the real supposed infringer (TSMC).
 

Arthur Hanson

Active member
Based on years of listening to TSM conference calls, I feel if TSM was careful about IP protection of what it itself has developed, this could turn into a IP war of sorts throughout the industry. China has challenged many companies patents in almost kangaroo courts and has had limited luck. The patent/copyright system is severely flawed and a major legal battle/war will expose many of these weaknesses and horrible flaws. We truly need a single world wide patent system that is fair, honest and transparent if the world is to move forward. If things continue as they are the law firms will be the winners and they may be behind the whole mess. A very interesting way to grow business.
 

coldsolder215

New member
"So what are we going to make now that we have all these IBM technologies, engineers, and patents?"
"How about we shutter or sell most of those programs, and then use the patents to troll companies who actually know what they're doing. And do a bit about the importance of domestic manufacturing to capitalize on this toxic political climate."
"Brilliant, have some stock."
 

Golmal

New member
It's not easy to go for infringement unless they have specific information about TSM process that can be proven as manufacturing is pretty complicated. It's also interesting that they left AMD out of the list considering there would have been lot of back and forth between GF and AMD on how to transfer process from one supplier to other when AMD switched.
 

Eric Esteve

Moderator
At first, I was surprised to see GF sueing TSMC (developing more advanced technology). Then, I remind that GF includes the former IBM semiconductor. That I have learnt during my life as an engineer is that IBM has discovered, and patented, so many technologies...
I don't know if this makes sense from a business point of view as we can guess that the US and German TSMC customers (expected to be the first to be impacted) can also be GF customers. Good luck to the GF guy who will have to explain this strategy to the common customers!!
 

ChrisGar

Member
It's interesting they chose TSMC as their target, since the breadth of the patent-portfolio they used to sue TSMC could also easily apply to Samsung, UMC or SMIC; maybe even Intel.
It makes sense not to pick Samsung, as Samsung has been the no 2. patent applicants in the US (after IBM) for years. Also, Samsung's patent (hired) lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to being defendants in patent infringement cases, both in the US and in Germany.
Also, GF's 14nm technology is licensed from Samsung.
 

AGap

New member
If Abu Dabhi's GF is serious about investing development and manufacturing in the US, they should not abandon their 7nm and 3nm effort. This lawsuit might indicate the beginning of GF's slow demise as its board and management are pivoting away from the company's core competencies: first abandon their leading node development, now allow themselves to degenerate into a patent troll. Looks like the investor in Abu Dabhi is trying to get some of their money back from the dying GF and flee.
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member

hist78

Member
If Abu Dabhi's GF is serious about investing development and manufacturing in the US, they should not abandon their 7nm and 3nm effort. This lawsuit might indicate the beginning of GF's slow demise as its board and management are pivoting away from the company's core competencies: first abandon their leading node development, now allow themselves to degenerate into a patent troll. Looks like the investor in Abu Dabhi is trying to get some of their money back from the dying GF and flee.
From the GF's announcement: “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. "

I'm not sure what's included in this 10-year $21 billion dollars ($15 + $6 billion) GF has spent. Are they used for fabs, R&D, salary, operations, dividend, loan interest, or all of them? Let me just assume it's the combination of building fabs and R&D. That means GF averagely spent $2.1 billion a year in the past 10 years in fabs and R&D. IMHO, this number is very hard for GF to stay in the game or even survive in the future.
 

hist78

Member
There are 13 US patents and 3 German patents involved in this lawsuit. I did some search for those 13 US patents. The original patent assignee (the original company filed the patent application) is as follows:

Globalfundries 7
IBM 5
AMD 1

It may partially explained why AMD is not in the GF's lawsuit target list. When GF spun off from AMD, AMD must have some sort of protection clauses in their split contract. For those people who are interested in reading the patent details, you can use the link I listed below to read the patent in full text. I have to admit they are very hard to read!

** The date following to each patent number ( US **** ) is the date the patent granted.

US 9,082,877 Jul 14, 2015 IBM
COMPLEMENTARY METAL OXIDE SEMICONDUCTOR (CMOS) DEVICE HAVING GATE STRUCTURES CONNECTED BY A METAL GATE CONDUCTOR

US 9,105,643 Aug 11, 2015 Globalfoundries
BIT CELL WITH DOUBLE PATTERENED METAL LAYER STRUCTURES

US 8,912,603 Dec 16, 2014 Globalfoundries
SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE WITH STRESSED FIN SECTIONS

US 8,936,986 Jan 20, 2015 Globalfoundries
METHODS OF FORMING FINFET DEVICES WITH A SHARED GATE STRUCTURE

US 7,750,418 Jul 6, 2010 IBM
INTRODUCTION OF METAL IMPURITY TO CHANGE WORKFUNCTION OF CONDUCTIVE ELECTRODES

US 8,039,966 Oct 18, 2011 IBM
STRUCTURES OF AND METHODS AND TOOLS FOR FORMING IN-SITU METALLIC/DIELECTRIC CAPS FOR INTERCONNECTS

US 6,518,167 Feb 11, 2003 AMD
METHOD OF FORMING A METAL OR METAL NITRIDE INTERFACE LAYER BETWEEN SILICON NITRIDE AND COPPER

US 8,598,633 Dec 3, 2013 Globalfoundries
SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE HAVING CONTACT LAYER PROVIDING ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS

US 7,425,497 Sep 16, 2008 IBM
INTRODUCTION OF METAL IMPURITY TO CHANGE WORKFUNCTION OF CONDUCTIVE ELECTRODES

US 9,355,910 May 31, 2016 Globalfoundries
SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE WITH TRANSISTOR LOCAL INTERCONNECTS

US 8,581,348 Nov 12, 2013 Globalfoundries
SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE WITH TRANSISTOR LOCAL INTERCONNECTS

US 8,823,178 Sep 2, 2014 Globalfoundries
BIT CELL WITH DOUBLE PATTERNED METAL LAYER STRUCTURES
 
Last edited:

hist78

Member
Dan, I was surprised not only by this announcement, but also by the list of patents being asserted. It is quite a broad sweep covering all nodes since 28nm and most applications. I can imaging the board of GF trying to monetize the extensive IP the "royalties" way now that GF has pivoted. This law suite signals a negotiation failure and therefore on the path to legal resolution. Is it going to be good for GF? That depends on the outcome of the case. Is it good for the industry? Why not? It is always good to kick the tires of the IP protection system that is a fundamental part of the industry since day 1.
I'm wondering if such patent lawsuit a common scenario among foundries? The only case I know right now is TSMC vs SMIC several years ago. But I believe that case is more related to stealing IPs by SMIC.

My assumption is that major foundries more or less may use some production techniques in the gray area. But most of them decided not to start a litigation because they want to avoid causing a backfire. As long as they stay in the foundry business, they don't want to stir up a hornets' nest.

Does GF really want to stay in the business as an independent foundry in the long run?
 

Eric Esteve

Moderator
There are 13 US patents and 3 German patents involved in this lawsuit. I did some search for those 13 US patents. The original patent assignee (the original company filed the patent application) is as follows:

Globalfundries 7
IBM 5
AMD 1

It may partially explained why AMD is not in the GF's lawsuit target list. When GF spun off from AMD, AMD must have some sort of protection clauses in their split contract. For those people who are interested in reading the patent details, you can use the link I listed below to read the patent in full text. I have to admit they are very hard to read!

** The date following to each patent number ( US **** ) is the date the patent granted.

US 9,082,877 Jul 14, 2015 IBM
COMPLEMENTARY METAL OXIDE SEMICONDUCTOR (CMOS) DEVICE HAVING GATE STRUCTURES CONNECTED BY A METAL GATE CONDUCTOR

US 9,105,643 Aug 11, 2015 Globalfoundries
BIT CELL WITH DOUBLE PATTERENED METAL LAYER STRUCTURES

US 8,912,603 Dec 16, 2014 Globalfoundries
SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE WITH STRESSED FIN SECTIONS

US 8,936,986 Jan 20, 2015 Globalfoundries
METHODS OF FORMING FINFET DEVICES WITH A SHARED GATE STRUCTURE

US 7,750,418 Jul 6, 2010 IBM
INTRODUCTION OF METAL IMPURITY TO CHANGE WORKFUNCTION OF CONDUCTIVE ELECTRODES

US 8,039,966 Oct 18, 2011 IBM
STRUCTURES OF AND METHODS AND TOOLS FOR FORMING IN-SITU METALLIC/DIELECTRIC CAPS FOR INTERCONNECTS

US 6,518,167 Feb 11, 2003 AMD
METHOD OF FORMING A METAL OR METAL NITRIDE INTERFACE LAYER BETWEEN SILICON NITRIDE AND COPPER

US 8,598,633 Dec 3, 2013 Globalfoundries
SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE HAVING CONTACT LAYER PROVIDING ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS

US 7,425,497 Sep 16, 2008 IBM
INTRODUCTION OF METAL IMPURITY TO CHANGE WORKFUNCTION OF CONDUCTIVE ELECTRODES

US 9,355,910 May 31, 2016 Globalfoundries
SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE WITH TRANSISTOR LOCAL INTERCONNECTS

US 8,581,348 Nov 12, 2013 Globalfoundries
SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE WITH TRANSISTOR LOCAL INTERCONNECTS

US 8,823,178 Sep 2, 2014 Globalfoundries
BIT CELL WITH DOUBLE PATTERNED METAL LAYER STRUCTURES
Excellent research work!
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
From the legal community:


The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,823,178; 8,581,348; 9,355,910; 7,425,497; 8,598,633; 6,518,167; 8,039,966; 7,750,418; 8,936,986; 8,912,603; 7,378,357; 9,105,643; and 9,082,877.

Globalfoundries is represented by Raymond W. Mort of The Mort Law Firm PLLC, Brian E. Farnan and Michael J. Farnan of Farnan LLP, T. John Ward Jr. and Andrea L. Fair of Ward Smith & Hill PLLC, and Michael T. Renaud, James Wodarski, Michael J. McNamara, William Meunier, Samuel F. Davenport, Adam S. Rizk, Marguerite McConihe, Matthew A. Karambelas, Catherine Xu, Jessica L. Perry, Christopher G. Duerden, Nana Liu, Kara E. Grogan, Peter S. Snell and Aarti Shah of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo PC.

Counsel information for the defendants was not immediately available on Tuesday.

The cases are Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Motorola Mobility LLC, case number 1:19-cv-01571; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. TCL Corporation et al., case number 1:19-cv-01572; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Xilinx Inc. et al., case number 1:19-cv-01573; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Motorola Mobility LLC, case number 1:19-cv-01574; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. TCL Corporation et al., case number 1:19-cv-01575; and Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Xilinx Inc. et al., case number 1:19-cv-01576, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, and Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00489; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00490; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00491; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00492; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00493; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00494; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Avnet Inc., case number 6:19-cv-00495; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00496; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Google LLC, case number 6:19-cv-00497; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00498; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00499; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Avnet Inc., case number 6:19-cv-00500; and Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Google LLC, case number 6:19-cv-00501, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
 

hist78

Member
From the legal community:


The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,823,178; 8,581,348; 9,355,910; 7,425,497; 8,598,633; 6,518,167; 8,039,966; 7,750,418; 8,936,986; 8,912,603; 7,378,357; 9,105,643; and 9,082,877.

Globalfoundries is represented by Raymond W. Mort of The Mort Law Firm PLLC, Brian E. Farnan and Michael J. Farnan of Farnan LLP, T. John Ward Jr. and Andrea L. Fair of Ward Smith & Hill PLLC, and Michael T. Renaud, James Wodarski, Michael J. McNamara, William Meunier, Samuel F. Davenport, Adam S. Rizk, Marguerite McConihe, Matthew A. Karambelas, Catherine Xu, Jessica L. Perry, Christopher G. Duerden, Nana Liu, Kara E. Grogan, Peter S. Snell and Aarti Shah of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo PC.

Counsel information for the defendants was not immediately available on Tuesday.

The cases are Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Motorola Mobility LLC, case number 1:19-cv-01571; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. TCL Corporation et al., case number 1:19-cv-01572; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Xilinx Inc. et al., case number 1:19-cv-01573; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Motorola Mobility LLC, case number 1:19-cv-01574; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. TCL Corporation et al., case number 1:19-cv-01575; and Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Xilinx Inc. et al., case number 1:19-cv-01576, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, and Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00489; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00490; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00491; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00492; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00493; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00494; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Avnet Inc., case number 6:19-cv-00495; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00496; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Google LLC, case number 6:19-cv-00497; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00498; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. et al., case number 6:19-cv-00499; Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Avnet Inc., case number 6:19-cv-00500; and Globalfoundries US Inc. v. Google LLC, case number 6:19-cv-00501, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
It's like the Globalfoundries vs the World! :)
 
So, even though GF is incapable of making 7nm chips, the reason TSMC can is because "TSMC has stolen GlobalFoundries' patented designs and techniques". With a straight face?
 
Last edited:
Top