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Qualcomm & Samsung Faces Patent Infringement Case Over the Use of FinFET Process



This year, we have seen quite a few patent infringement cases involving Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Nokia, Ericson, and others. While few of them are solved in courts after years of struggle, others cases are dropped with mutual understandings. As we are coming to the end of this year, a new patent infringement case has been filed against Samsung and Qualcomm. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) alleges that Samsung is using their semiconductor manufacturing technology called Fin Field Effect Transistors (FinFET) process without paying any royalties. Now the U.S based office of KAIST has filed the case in the U.S against Samsung, Qualcomm, and Global Foundries.

Qualcomm has recently announced its Snapdragon 835 processor that will be produced using the Samsung’s advanced 10nm FinFET Process. While the chipset is yet to be available for manufacturers, both the companies jointly held an event in the U.S for the announcement and also released individual press releases. On the other hand, another U.S based semiconductor manufacturer Global Foundries collaborated with Samsung in 2014 for offering the 14nm FinFET process at that time. According to the KAIST, Lee Jong-ho, the Seoul National University professor has presented the 3D FinFET process to Samsung in 2001, but the company hasn’t shown any interest at that particular time.

But when Intel came up with Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) using the Lee’s 3D FinFET process, Samsung invited him to lecture his engineers which and when the company got more details regarding his new technology. Even Samsung got the patent based on copied work. KAIST alleges that Samsung saved time and money by copying Lee’s invention and haven’t paid any royalties till date. However, the companies involved in this lawsuit are yet to be responded regarding this lawsuit. Hope, Samsung follows Intel’s way of getting the license for using the FinFET processor instead of just copying.

The Galaxy Note 7 blasts all over the world caused severe damage to Samsung’s brand and the recall of all the devices is said to cost more than $5 billion is net losses. The batteries which are responsible for the total fiasco are also later found to be certified only after the internal testings. While the MediaTek’s Helio X30 / X35 and Huawei’s Kirin 970 are also said to use 10nm process but they are collaborating with TSMC for the production. Even with this lawsuit, we hope there won’t be any delay in the upcoming smartphone launches like Galaxy S8 and LG G6 which will be powered by Snapdragon 835 SoC. Stay tuned on Phone Radar as we will be updating once there is any update over this issue.


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