GlobalFoundries and TSMC have announced this afternoon that they have signed a broad cross-licensing agreement, ending all of their ongoing legal disputes. Under the terms of the deal, the two companies will license each other's semiconductor-related patents granted so far, as well as any patents filed over the next 10 years.

Previously, GlobalFoundries has been accusing TSMC of patent infringement. At the time of the first lawsuit in August, TSMC said that the charges were baseless and that it would defend itself in court. In October, TSMC countersued its rival and, in turn, accused GlobalFoundries of infringing multiple patents. Now, less than a month after the countersuit, the two companies have agreed to sign a broad cross licensing agreement and dismiss all ongoing litigation.

According to the agreement, GlobalFoundries and TSMC cross-license to each other’s worldwide existing semiconductor patents, as well as any patents that are filed by the two companies in the next 10 years. Broadly speaking, GlobalFoundries and TSMC have thousands of semiconductor-related patents between them, some of which were originally granted to AMD and IBM.

Cross-licensing agreements are not uncommon in the high-tech world. Instead of fighting each other in expensive legal battles, companies with a broad portfolio of patents just sign cross-licensing agreements with peers, freeing them up to focus on innovating with their products rather than having to find ways to avoid infringing upon rivals' patents.

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Source: GlobalFoundries/TSMC Press Release

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  • Eliadbu - Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - link

    they will need tens of billions to compete in the leading node, they might try to compete not in the leading node but 1 or 2 gens behind in the future but as is seems the race is over for them, in this industry you either make it big get huge profit and lead on or you fall behind, from dozens of manufactures in the leading node in the past we are left with just 3 today.
  • Dragonstongue - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    IMHO good on them BOTH, the way the world is heading, we ALL or at least those making the products we want/need have to and should be working together in one way or another, even if it means they are "competitors" making their own sales and such.

    Now only if Intel Nvidia Apple and such would do the same,
  • beginner99 - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    That is a surprising quick and nice ending to this topic.
  • mkozakewich - Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - link

    This whole thing has been some kind of weird chess play. I guess it might have been trying to get access to those patents so it could keep up with its current status of "slightly older architectures" a few years from now? If so, I'm actually impressed with their forwardthinkingness. Or maybe they hoped for some kind of cash settlement, which would have been petty. I do wonder if there was something behind the scenes, like if AMD wanted to jump entirely to TSMC but couldn't because of patent issues, and somehow negotiated with GloFo to have this all done. (We'll hear about it in the next while, if so.)
  • Santoval - Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - link

    I don't think we need to be lawyers to deduce that this was the true purpose of GloFo's lawsuit against TSMC all along. Since they apparently own less (and/or less important) patents than TSMC this should be a big win for them.
  • Zoolook13 - Friday, November 1, 2019 - link

    It's most likely part of putting GF on the market, to remove any uncertainties that might have existed, now GF has been slimmed and any legal question-marks have been straightened out for any potential buyers.
  • Matthias B V - Saturday, March 6, 2021 - link

    Was thinking since last year they should have licensed 7nm TSMC as it is DUV and could probably be done on their scanners.

    Since PS5 / XBOX / Navi1+2 / Zen 2+3 all run on this node it would benefit everyone:

    - AMD sells more and gets market
    - TSMC can't sell more at max cap. so they don*t lose business so they could make extra $
    - GF can sell 7nm
    - Customers get products

    AMD has to get dual source. I love Mr. Su as a CEO but I have the feeling she is not agressive enough in taking a risk to get market share and too focused on margins - which was ok when AMD was starved and sucess was not sure but now I think market and mind share is more improtant than max. margin rather than have a good margin and more share as share is the base for future business.

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