Bitmain chip supplier TSMC slapped with multiple lawsuits

The world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC), is facing multiple lawsuits over patent infringements from its American rival, GlobalFoundries (GF). TSMC, which is the chip supplier for Bitmain, is accused of unlawfully using its rival’s technology to make billions of dollars’ worth of sales.

The lawsuits allege that TSMC infringed on 16 GF patents, a report by Reuters revealed. The Santa Clara-based GF seeks to prevent the importation of products from TSMC that allegedly contain chips produced with the infringing technologies. The company filed the lawsuits in the U.S and Germany.

While GlobalFoundries didn’t disclose details about the products affected, it revealed a number of TSMC clients who will be affected. They include Google, Apple, Qualcomm, Lenovo Group, Asus, Broadcom, NVidia Corp. and MediaTek Inc.

Part of the press release by GF stated, “In filing the lawsuits, GF seeks orders that will prevent semiconductors produced with the infringing technology by Taiwan-based TSMC, the dominant semiconductor manufacturer, from being imported into the US and Germany.”

A day after the lawsuits, TSMC responded to the allegations, denying any patent infringement and basically describing GF as a “patent troll.” TSMC responded:

TSMC has established one of the largest semiconductor portfolios with more than 37,000 patents worldwide and a top 10 ranking for US patent grants for 3 consecutive years since 2016. We are disappointed to see a foundry peer resort to meritless lawsuits instead of competing in the marketplace with technology. TSMC is proud of its technology leadership, manufacturing excellence, and unwavering commitment to customers. We will fight vigorously, using any and all options, to protect our proprietary technologies.

TSMC’s clients declined to comment to media requests.

GlobalFoundries described its lawsuits as part of its efforts to protect its U.S investment:

While semiconductor manufacturing has continued to shift to Asia, GlobalFoundries has bucked the trend by investing heavily in the American and European semiconductor industries. This action is critical to safeguard the American and European manufacturing base.

Bitmain revealed earlier this year that it had placed a substantial order of 7nm chips from TSMC which it uses to develop rigs that it claims offer a gross profit margin of about 30%. In the past, Bitmain has had trouble with TSMC after it was unable to settle its debt with the chip maker. As CoinGeek reported, the TSMC CFO had issued an ultimatum to the Beijing company to pay up or risk being cut out for good.

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