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TSMC files patent, trade secret suit against SMIC

Posted: 30 Aug 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing? silicon? SMIC? Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.? patent suit?

Silicon foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd (TSMC) said that it has once again filed a patent and trade secret suit against archrival Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) of China, according to a recent report from Dow Jones.

The suit, according to the report, alleges "breach of an agreement" over a settlement in a patent suit filed back in 2005.

TSMC is seeking compensation from SMIC. The company is looking to prevent "SMIC from using its patents and trade secrets," according to the report. No other details were given.

In 2003, TSMC filed a suit against SMIC over foundry patents and misappropriation of trade secrets. The original complaint stated that SMIC hired over 100 TSMC employees and asked some of them to provide SMIC with TSMC's trade secrets. The company then expanded its legal battle with SMIC alleging that SMIC stole TSMC's 0.18 process and related chip-production technologies.

In 2005, TSMC reached an out-of-court settlement with SMIC. Under the terms, SMIC was supposed to pay the company some $175 million to settle the bitter patent and trade secret suit. In addition, the two parties would cross license each other's patent portfolio through December 2010.

In response, SMIC said that it was shocked by the announcement. "Since the settlement agreement with TSMC in January 2005, SMIC has worked diligently to honor the agreement and has complied with its terms," said SMIC CEO Richard R. Chang in a statement.

"SMIC is very shocked by and deeply disappointed with the actions of TSMC and believes their actions are brought in bad faith. Whilst SMIC will fight the lawsuit and defend and protect our interests, SMIC urges TSMC to act reasonably and honor the settlement agreement we reached," Chang added.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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