American semiconductor foundry GlobalFoundries filed 16 patent infringement lawsuits against TSMC in the United States and Germany. Headquartered in Taiwan, TSMC is the largest company in the industry and is working very closely with Chinese companies such as Huawei, MediaTek and Hisense. GlobalFoundries is claiming that its patent infringement losses caused by TSMC amount to tens of billions of dollars.
“The purpose of the lawsuits is to prevent TSMC products based on stolen technology from being exported to the United States and Germany,” GlobalFoundries explained, adding, “We made huge investments in the United States and Europe while the focus of semiconductor manufacturing was shifting toward Asia and the lawsuits are to protect innovation based on the United States and Europe with regard to the huge investments.”
GlobalFoundries requested the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to block the import of products using TSMC chips, too. iPhones and iPads as well as the products of fabless firms such as Qualcomm and Nvidia can be affected if the request is accepted.
Experts point out that the lawsuits have to do with GlobalFoundries’ current position in the industry. Although the company used to be the second-largest player behind TSMC in the global foundry industry, its market share stood at 8.7 percent at the end of the second quarter of this year, when those of TSMC and Samsung Electronics were 49.2 percent and 18 percent, respectively. In addition, its business in China, such as cooperation with Huawei’s subsidiary HiSilicon, has gone wrong amid the trade war between the United States and China.