GlobalFoundries Lawsuits Could Impact Apple, Cisco, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and others
by Shelly Kramer | August 26, 2019

The News:  GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF), the world’s leading specialty foundry based in the United States, today filed multiple lawsuits in the US and Germany alleging that semiconductor manufacturing technologies used by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSMC) infringe 16 GF patents. The lawsuits were filed today in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the U.S. Federal District Courts in the Districts of Delaware and the Western District of Texas, and the Regional Courts of Dusseldorf and Mannheim in Germany. Read the full release from GlobalFoundries at Globe Newswire.

GlobalFoundries Lawsuits v. TSMC Could Impact Apple, Cisco, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and others

Analyst take: TSMC is a leading semiconductor manufacturer and the semiconductors produced by the company play a big role in a variety of products of major brands who rely on this technology in a big way. The GlobalFoundries’ lawsuits allege patent infringement by TSMC on 16 GlobalFoundries’ patents. While the filing of the patent infringement lawsuits themselves is newsworthy, of more immediate interest is GlobalFoundries’ quest for court orders preventing the import of any products relying on the technology in dispute into the US or Germany.

This is where it gets sticky. TMSC is a Taiwan-based company and not subject to US jurisdiction. However, the lawsuits include a number of TMSC’s customers who import chips into the US which are built using the technology in dispute. The GlobalFoundries’ lawsuits alleging infringement includes some of the world’s largest technology Taicompanies, including Apple, ASUS, Broadcom, Cisco, Google, NVIDIA, Lenovo, and Motorola, to name just a few.

Should the courts find in favor of GlobalFoundries’ quest for injunctions, this could conceivably preclude the import of products including but not limited to smartphones running Qualcomm’s SoCs, routers and devices made by ASUS and Lenovo containing TMSC chips, Apple iPhones, and NVIDIA’s GeForce-based graphics cards.

Companies Impacted by GlobalFoundries’ Lawsuits

The list of companies potentially impacted by these lawsuits include:

Fabless Chip Designers
Apple, Broadcom, Mediatek, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Xilinx

Consumer Product Manufacturers
Arista, ASUS, BLU, Cisco, Google, HiSense, Lenovo, Motorola, TCI, OnePlus

Electronic Component Distributors
Avnet/EBV, Digi-key, Mouser

GlobalFoundries asserts that the company has invested heavily in both American and European semiconductor industries and that these lawsuits are aimed at protecting those investments and to “safeguard the American manufacturing base.” A not-surprising tactic in today’s nationalistic political climate. One thing is for certain, GlobalFoundries has certainly managed to garner the immediate attention of legal teams at major tech companies around the world. Now, we, and a whole lot of technology giants, wait to see what happens next.

Other Analysis from Futurum Research:

Qualcomm Wins Partial Stay in FTC Ruling, Overturn Likely to Follow

Cisco Posts Solid 4th Quarter, But Waives Caution Flag. Here’s Why Investors Shouldn’t Worry

Huawei Ascend AI Processors Show its Ambition Despite Tensions


Image credit: Pixabay

About the Author

A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, Shelly has worked with some of the world’s largest brands to lead them into the digital space, embrace disruption, understand the reality of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of Digital Transformation. Read Full Bio.