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The GlobalFoundries case threatens sales bans against Apple, NVIDIA



The consequences can still be serious. In one of ITC's complaints, GlobalFoundries has called for a ban on the import of many of Apple's mobile-chip devices, including the iPhone XS, AirPods, Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple TV 4K. It would still be very harmful to others. NVIDIA's GPU business revolves heavily around assembly at TSMC, such as 1

2-nanometer chips in the heart of GeForce RTX. If GlobalFoundries prevailed, these companies may have no choice but to stop sales, at least until they find alternative production channels.

In the explanation of the case, GlobalFoundries played heavily for the nationalism that fueled the current US-China trade war. He characterizes the lawsuits as "protecting" investment in US and European chip production, while presenting TSMC as part of "shifting production to Asia". He also claims that the suits will provide a "competitive industry" for his clients.

The reality may be more complicated. While it is true that TSMC is the dominant force in chip making with responsibility for almost half of all chip outsourcing, GlobalFoundries has also abandoned chip development at 7nm and smaller processes. He effectively ceded competition in this space to rivals like TSMC, claiming that he could not afford to spend the billions of dollars needed to keep going. It is unclear whether a successful battle with TSMC would be sufficient to restart these efforts. As with some similarly extensive legal battles, this may apply to the use of patents as well as to other sources of revenue, since this is an intellectual property dispute.


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