What you need to know

  • Apple chip supplier TSMC has countersued GlobalFoundries.
  • GlobalFoundries is alleged to have infringed 25 TSMC patents.
  • GlobalFoundries previously sued TSMC in August this year, seeking to prevent imports of affected products in the U.S. and Germany.

Apple's chip supplier, TSMC, has countersued rival GlobalFoundries in the latest development surrounding a legal dispute over patent infringement between the two chip suppliers. TSMC alleges that Global Foundries infringed on no less than 25 of its patents, in a lawsuit filed September 30.

According to Reuters, the Taiwan-based company is seeking injuctions against GlobalFoundries to stop the manufacture and sale of chips that infringe on 25 TSMC patents. The move is almost certainly a direct counter to previous action taken against TMSC last month.

In August of this year, GlobalFoundries sued TSMC over the alleged infringement of 16 of its patents. That lawsuit sought to stop imports into the U.S and Germany of all products containing the technology in question. The firm claimed that Apple was amongst the TSMC customers whose products were affected by the lawsuit.

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Regarding the latest civil action, TSMC said this:

TSMC, the world's leading global innovator in semiconductor manufacturing, filed multiple lawsuits on September 30, 2019 against GlobalFoundries in the United States, Germany and Singapore for its ongoing infringement of 25 TSMC patents by at least its 40nm, 28nm, 22nm, 14nm, and 12nm node processes. In the complaints, TSMC demands injunctions to stop GlobalFoundries' manufacture and sale of infringing semiconductor products. TSMC also seeks substantial monetary damages from GlobalFoundries for its sale of infringing semiconductor products and unlawful use of TSMC's patented semiconductor technologies.

Whilst this development in the legal dispute does seem to cloud the air somewhat, it may in fact increase the likelihood that the two parties, TSMC and GlobalFoundries, may be able to find some common ground or terms of settlement. Were that the case, both lawsuits might fall away, preventing what would likely be a fairly catastrophic blow to Apple's U.S. sales market and months of expensive and protracted litigation.

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