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Knowledge War, US to Restrict EDA Exports

Arthur Hanson

Well-known member
Knowledge and its use is fast becoming the next area of conflict and war. Knowledge has always been controlled for hundreds of years; England had export controls of IP hundreds of years ago under threat of death. It didn't work well; numerous plans were smuggled out. Knowledge is a great store of wealth and has been stolen, used and misused for centuries. In this case it will be interesting to see what happens to chips and the products there made with stolen technology. The Apple/Samsung dispute litigated around the world is but one of many. It will be interesting to see how these EDA restrictions play out on the world stage. Any thoughts or comments on this particular issue will impact the semi-industry are appreciated. What kind of litigation might evolve from a dispute of this type and political actions?

 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
The interesting part is the EDA tools. China is $1.5B of EDA so that could hurt. I have no idea how they are going to ban GAA EDA tools without banning all leading edge EDA tools. EDA companies update tools to handle new technologies such as FinFET and GAA but they do not create separate tools. This could be a big deal for US EDA companies and a big blow for the China semiconductor industry, absolutely.

China does have EDA companies (Primarius, Empyrean, S2C EDA, Corigine, etc...) but they are not competitive with US based tools. EDA really is a US monopoly.

Consequently, with this rule, BIS is controlling this technology as Section 1758 technology by adding new ECCN 3D006 to the CCL to control ECAD “software” “specially designed” for the “development” of integrated circuits having any GAAFET structure and meeting the parameters set forth in ECCN 3D006. Such software must be either “specially designed” for implementing RTL to GDSII or an equivalent standard or “specially designed” for optimization of power or timing rules.

ECCN 3D006 will also include a new technical note that defines ECAD, RTL, and GDSII. ECAD software tools are designed to incorporate and work with the different process design kits (PDKs) from each foundry, which include specifications for that foundry’s transistor architecture. The new control applies to an ECAD software tool when it is specially designed as described in 3D006, whether it is exported with a PDK or separately.

ECAD software controlled under new ECCN 3D006 requires a license for NS and AT reasons, respectively, for countries with an “X” listed in columns NS:2 or AT:1 on the Commerce Country Chart. A license exception (see part 740 of the EAR), such as License Exception Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) may authorize a transaction that otherwise would require a license.


https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/d...-wa-2021-1758-technologies-controls-rule/file
 
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Paul2

Active member
Most of China works on 10 years old pirated Cadence.

Even a "university" license from Cadence will still be out of reach for 99% of fabless there.
 

kingmouf

Member
Is EDA a US monopoly? Siemens who now owns Mentor is European. I dont know though the level of control, contracts, obligations etc etc. Given that EDA is a big three game, this means that a significant percentage of the pie is not controlled by US (at least directly, but given European efforts to rise chip design and manufacturing efforts, Siemens/Mentor may be an important element of EU policy).
I have been reading today this article published a few days ago: https://www.science.org/doi/epdf/10.1126/science.ade4423 . I am wondering if the real problem for EDA companies (and other sectors) is not the revenue that they will loose if these restrictions continue. If the report is to be believed about the speed of scientific progress in China, it is possible that this all could backfire for western companies if they cannot access the talent pool created in China or if they similarly cannot work with / acquire companies that emerge from universities and research institutes in that area. Time will tell, but we are living fundamental shifts in how things work. I cannot predict an outcome. Additionally, the war in Ukraine following all the disasters of the previous years, is rapidly leading most European countries into recession, if all the reports are to be believed. I dont know if they can afford to loose the chinese market if US keeps pressing with restrictions in exports and other relations (especially Germany). How is this going to be ironed out? The whole world is a mess. I am kinda depressed. I really hope that reason and logic will prevail and people from all sides will realise that some kind of solution to live with each other peacefully and find means to cooperate must be in effect.
 

coldsolder215

Active member
Is EDA a US monopoly?
Standard Oil was a monopoly, the "seven sisters" after the breakup was a cartel. IMO EDA is a cartel.

And German conglomerates might as well be a subsidiary of USA at this point, given that they're willing to freeze themselves so American small arms can continue flowing into Ukraine.
 

tooLongInEDA

Active member
Is EDA a US monopoly? Siemens who now owns Mentor is European. I dont know though the level of control, contracts, obligations etc etc. Given that EDA is a big three game, this means that a significant percentage of the pie is not controlled by US (at least directly, but given European efforts to rise chip design and manufacturing efforts, Siemens/Mentor may be an important element of EU policy).
I have been reading today this article published a few days ago: https://www.science.org/doi/epdf/10.1126/science.ade4423 . I am wondering if the real problem for EDA companies (and other sectors) is not the revenue that they will loose if these restrictions continue. If the report is to be believed about the speed of scientific progress in China, it is possible that this all could backfire for western companies if they cannot access the talent pool created in China or if they similarly cannot work with / acquire companies that emerge from universities and research institutes in that area. Time will tell, but we are living fundamental shifts in how things work. I cannot predict an outcome. Additionally, the war in Ukraine following all the disasters of the previous years, is rapidly leading most European countries into recession, if all the reports are to be believed. I dont know if they can afford to loose the chinese market if US keeps pressing with restrictions in exports and other relations (especially Germany). How is this going to be ironed out? The whole world is a mess. I am kinda depressed. I really hope that reason and logic will prevail and people from all sides will realise that some kind of solution to live with each other peacefully and find means to cooperate must be in effect.
I think we will find that at least 80% of the current economic issues in the West were due to Covid policies and less than 20% due to Russia/Ukraine. It will all become much clearer in 5-10 years ("life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forewards" [Kierkegaard]). It is too easy to sit around catastrophising right now.

Back to EDA: this is an inherently international activity - just like chip design. However, we do know that it flourished before 1989 within "the West", when China was not a player (or large market). So I rather doubt that it cannot continue now without China. I see no evidence that we did not have enough talent without China in the past.

I'll go one stage further with this. The reason EDA and chip design flourished in the West was because these were free, open societies based on the rule of law (e.g. protection of intellectual property - however much we might dislike some aspects of US patent/IP law, it is at least functioning and largely predictable law). Innovation is impaired in societies where challenging authority and existing ideas is unpopular/not tolerated/hazardous to your own freedom/survival.

Further still: I see no evidence (always ready to be corrected - I'm not an expert here) that countries like China and Russia have ever successfully developed internationally competitive professional services companies (law, finance, accountancy, etc). Let's remember that EDA has a huge services component - you don't just buy tools - you are also buying support.

I do not share your pessimism. Nor your [apparent] view that we can always accomadate hostile regimes.
 

tonyget

Active member
Further still: I see no evidence (always ready to be corrected - I'm not an expert here) that countries like China and Russia have ever successfully developed internationally competitive professional services companies (law, finance, accountancy, etc). Let's remember that EDA has a huge services component - you don't just buy tools - you are also buying support.

You don't see the likes of Japan/Korea/Taiwan successfully developed internationally competitive professional services companies either,despite their success in manufacturing sector. And this is no coincidence.

Modern law and financial system originate from the West,no one understand the system batter than Westerners. So it makes sense that Western companies dominate the field
 

Arthur Hanson

Well-known member
I think we will find that at least 80% of the current economic issues in the West were due to Covid policies and less than 20% due to Russia/Ukraine. It will all become much clearer in 5-10 years ("life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forewards" [Kierkegaard]). It is too easy to sit around catastrophising right now.

Back to EDA: this is an inherently international activity - just like chip design. However, we do know that it flourished before 1989 within "the West", when China was not a player (or large market). So I rather doubt that it cannot continue now without China. I see no evidence that we did not have enough talent without China in the past.

I'll go one stage further with this. The reason EDA and chip design flourished in the West was because these were free, open societies based on the rule of law (e.g. protection of intellectual property - however much we might dislike some aspects of US patent/IP law, it is at least functioning and largely predictable law). Innovation is impaired in societies where challenging authority and existing ideas is unpopular/not tolerated/hazardous to your own freedom/survival.

Further still: I see no evidence (always ready to be corrected - I'm not an expert here) that countries like China and Russia have ever successfully developed internationally competitive professional services companies (law, finance, accountancy, etc). Let's remember that EDA has a huge services component - you don't just buy tools - you are also buying support.

I do not share your pessimism. Nor your [apparent] view that we can always accomadate hostile regimes.
I agree on the economy, but a totally incompetent administration has made the situation worse. I feel just like there is a lower age limit for president, there should be an upper age limit. Socialism and Communism are not conducive to technology or productivity.
 

Paul2

Active member
The interesting part is the EDA tools. China is $1.5B of EDA so that could hurt. I have no idea how they are going to ban GAA EDA tools without banning all leading edge EDA tools. EDA companies update tools to handle new technologies such as FinFET and GAA but they do not create separate tools. This could be a big deal for US EDA companies and a big blow for the China semiconductor industry, absolutely.

Yes, this effectively bans all tools from the duopoly. This may be a boon for Siemens since they were a latecomer to FinFET party, and haven't announced anything GAA specific.
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Yes, this effectively bans all tools from the duopoly. This may be a boon for Siemens since they were a latecomer to FinFET party, and haven't announced anything GAA specific.

Siemens has a big physical verification/litho presence (Calibre) and that will have to adapt to GAA, absolutely.
 
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