Abu Dhabi-owned Globalfoundries has wrapped itself in the American flag to sue the Taiwanese foundry that makes nearly everybody’s chips.
From “Lawsuit Over Computer Chips Invokes Trade War With China,” in Tuesday’s New York Times:
SAN FRANCISCO — One of the biggest semiconductor makers in the United States on Monday initiated a broad legal attack on Taiwan’s dominant chip manufacturer, the latest twist in a complex geopolitical battle over electronic components that could affect big chip users like Apple and Google.
Globalfoundries, which runs former IBM chip factories in New York State and Vermont but is owned by an Abu Dhabi investment firm, filed a series of suits accusing the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company of infringing 16 patents covering processes used in manufacturing computer chips.
The suits were filed in two federal courts in the United States and two German courts. Globalfoundries also complained to the United States International Trade Commission.
In addition, the suits name a number of companies that either design chips manufactured by T.S.M.C. or use chips manufactured by that company in devices such as smartphones and networking equipment. Those defendants include Apple, Google, Qualcomm, Cisco Systems, Nvidia, Broadcom, Xilinx, Lenovo and Motorola.
From Globalfoundries press release (via Patently Apple):
Gregg Bartlett, senior vice president, engineering and technology at GF: “While semiconductor manufacturing has continued to shift to Asia, GF has bucked the trend by investing heavily in the American and European semiconductor industries…
“These lawsuits are aimed at protecting those investments and the US and European-based innovation that powers them. 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.”
My take: Not mentioned in the press release is the fact that Globalfoundries dropped out of the 7-nm processor race, abandoning any hope of making Apple’s high-end chips.