GlobalFoundries sues IBM over alleged trade secrets breach

Semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries (GF) has confirmed that it has sued IBM for sharing trade secrets after GF had acquired the business in question in 2015, at which point “the sole and exclusive right to license and disclose that technology” was handed over to GF.

A company press release explains: “The complaint asserts the former semiconductor manufacturing company has unlawfully disclosed GF’s confidential IP and trade secrets.”

As a result of allegedly disclosing secrets to partners like Intel and Rapidus, GF believes that IBM is “unjustly receiving potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in licensing income and other benefits.”

IBM sued for allegedly sharing IP secrets

The lawsuit is specifically concerned about the technology that stems from Albany NanoTech Complex research, and also raises concerns about any further breaches that may have occurred.

GlobalFoundries, through a federal court in the Southern District of New York, has asked for compensatory and punitive damages to a currently undisclosed figure, as well as an injunction to prevent IBM from further unlawful disclosures.

The New York-based firm also noted apparent efforts by IBM to target and recruit its workers, who it describes as “world-class,” requesting that the court put a stop to this.

A statement by the company reads: “GF will aggressively defend its investments in technology against those who violate them, as the complaint demonstrates IBM has repeatedly done.”

This isn’t the first altercation between the two companies, with IBM complaining several years after the handover that GF had failed to fulfill its obligations under their contract, with $2.5 billion in damages at stake. 

A GlobalFoundries spokesperson confirmed to TechRadar Pro that the previous, unrelated litigation is ongoing, that depositions have been complete, and that the company believes it’s a “meritless claim.”

We asked IBM about the most recent case. A company spokesperson said:

“GlobalFoundries filed this meritless lawsuit after a court rejected the company’s attempt to dismiss IBM’s legitimate fraud and breach of contract claims. Their allegations are entirely baseless, and we are confident that the court will agree.”

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