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Tuesday, November 16, 2010
ITC Terminates Investigation into TSMC 37nm and Smaller Products

TSMC was able to secure a favorable resolution to an International Trade Commission investigation for alleged patent infringement by its 28 nm process technology.

The parties have filed a joint motion to terminate the ITC investigation titled In the Matter of Certain Semiconductor Products Made by Advanced Lithography Techniques and Products Containing Same, 337-TA-729, brought by STC.UNM, the licensing arm of the University of New Mexico.

The investigation alleged TSMC's semiconductor process with critical dimensions of 37 nm or below of infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,042,998 . TSMC responded by denying the infringement allegations.

TSMC's general counsel, Dr. Richard Thurston, remarked "While TSMC regrets that a case based upon an invalid and unenforceable patent such as STC's made its way into the courts, TSMC is, however, pleased with the outcome of this case."

Orders From AMD

In related news, AMD has announced its contract with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to build its 40-nanometer Ontario and Zacate accelerated processing units (APUs).

Also, AMD will outsource the production of its 28nm Krishna and Wichita APUs to TSMC, with the two chips designed to replace Ontario and Zacate when they are introduced in 2012.

Ontario and Zacate, which AMD has begun shipping to contract PC makers, are designed for low-end and middle-range PCs.

Krishna and Wichita, aimed at the tablet PC market, feature 1 to 4 cores on a single die, as well as support DirectX 11 graphic format and USB 3.0 transmission interface.

In addition to processors, AMD has signed up TSMC to make its Northern Island graphics chips, Barts-coded Radeon HD 6850/6870 chips, and Cayman-coded Radeon HD 6950/6970 chips, all of which are designed on 40nm process.

Also, AMD plans to introduce its duo-core Antilles graphics chip and low-priced graphics chips, namely Turks and Caicos, in the first quarter next year and will contract TSMC to make these chips using 40nm process by the end of this year.

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