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TSMC and GlobalFoundries bury the hatchet with a 10-year cross-license agreement

The new agreement could allow GloFo to complete the development of its 7 nm nodes. (Source: Extreme Tech)
The new agreement could allow GloFo to complete the development of its 7 nm nodes. (Source: Extreme Tech)
The two leading foundries unexpectedly dropped any patent infringement claims and struck an agreement that allows both parties to license each other’s existing patents. Additionally, the agreement would also cover any other patents that would be filed by any side in the next 10 years.
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It looks like the tensions between TSMC and GlobalFoundries dissipated quicker than expected. Even though GloFo’s attitude was clearly belligerent after TSMC responded with a counter-lawsuit, the two companies quickly realized that the patent infringement claims coming from both sides would take too much time to process through legal methods, and could have potentially affected the supply of semiconductors that serves a wide client base, which includes big names ike Apple, Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm and many others. If you cannot beat them in court, why not join them, instead?

Well, not exactly a joint venture, but more like a bilateral agreement that would allow both companies to license each other’s existing patents plus any other patents that would be filed by any side in the next 10 years. The press release calls this agreement a “broad life-of-patents cross-license,” which in turn “guarantees TSMC and GF freedom to operate and ensures that their respective customers will continue to have access to each foundry's complete array of technologies and services."

Asked by Tom’s Hardware to comment on the agreement, analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy explained that he believes “this agreement is good for the industry as more companies sharing patents and IP accelerates innovation. As GlobalFoundries initiated the lawsuit and is in less diverse markets, I think it likely got the better deal."

Since GloFo is already behind in the miniaturization process, as it currently does not have any 7 nm nodes, maybe the whole strategy with the lawsuit was to legally gain access to such technology from TSMC. Too far-fetched? We will probably never know GloFo’s real intentions.

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Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - Senior Tech Writer - 1565 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 10 > TSMC and GlobalFoundries bury the hatchet with a 10-year cross-license agreement
Bogdan Solca, 2019-10-29 (Update: 2019-10-29)