TSMC Weaponizing Patents

TSMC increased the number of its U.S. patents by 22 percent last year. According to industry sources, this is to protect itself from patent trolls and keep Samsung Electronics in check with the Taiwanese company about to produce chips in the United States.

TSMC’s registered patents can be used against Samsung Electronics, which is expected to invest US$17 billion in the United States this year alone. TSMC, whose 5-nanometer fab is scheduled to be put into operation in Arizona in 2024, needs to blunt Samsung Electronics’ offensive. The Taiwanese company may share its patents with patent trolls so that patent infringement lawsuits can be filed against Samsung Electronics.


TSMC’s patents are valuable for the purpose of smooth market entry as well. On GlobalFoundries’ part, TSMC’s market entry means the possibility of losing a client. Then, the U.S. semiconductor foundry may be inclined to resort to patent litigation. In addition, the United States is home to a large number of patent trolls.

Each year from 2007 to 2020, Samsung Electronics came in second in the number of U.S. patent registrations. However, the number decreased by 54 or 1 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, TSMC rose from 12th to sixth by increasing its number by 2,833 or 22 percent. At present, Samsung Electronics has 6,415 patents registered in the United States, approximately 2.3 times that of TSMC


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