Taiwan's TSMC, the world's largest foundry manufacturer, has filed a patent countersuit against U.S. foundry company GlobalFoundries in the United States, Germany and Singapore. TSMC made the move in response to a patent infringement lawsuit filed against it by GlobalFoundries in the United States and Germany in August. Some analysts say that TSMC and GlobalFoundries are waging a proxy war on behalf of China and the United States.
According to a Nikkei Asian Review report on Oct. 1, Silvia Pang, vice president of TSMC, said the countersuit is intended to protect its huge investment in foundry process development and its 500 customers. TSMC was also reported to have asked courts to ban sales of products loaded with semiconductors manufactured by GlobalFoundries.
TSMC's major clients include Chinese companies such as Huawei, MediaTek, and HiSense and U.S. companies such as Apple and Qualcomm. It posted a 49.2 percent share of the global foundry market in the second quarter of this year.
On the other hand, GlobalFoundries has a global market share of only 8.7 percent. It is losing customer following its decision earlier this year to suspend the development of a 7 nanometer process technology. In particular, the recent trade dispute between the United States and China has caused difficulties for GlobalFoundries. For example, Huawei walked away from GlobalFoundries. If the court rules in favor of TSMC, GlobalFoundries’ market share will further shrink.
Industry watcher showed mixed reactions. Some experts say that Samsung Electronics, which is aiming to be the No. 1 player in the global foundry market, will benefit from the legal battle between TSMC and GlobalFoundries. Others say that Korea may be adversely affected by the confrontation between the two companies. “Companies in China and Taiwan are striking back against the United States, which is seeking to keep China in check,” said an official of a Korean semiconductor company. “It is difficult to say whether Korea will benefit from the battle between the United States and China.”