TSMC Takes On The Trolls

TSMC is taking the IP war to the trolls – instigating a pre-emptive legal strike against Zond LLC.

In February Zond sued Intel for infringing its patents relating to thin film deposition. TSMC is manufacturing mobile SOCs for Intel. Early this month Zond sued Fujitsu.

TSMC said it sued “to protect itself from the most recent recurring plague” where a company sues another “for the purpose of obtaining settlement money to which it is not entitled.”

TSMC says Zond is seeking licensing fees “that bear no reasonable relation to the value” of the patents.

Zond is a nine year-old privately held US company.

Recently an Intel lawyer complained that royalties on smartphone patents were costing almost as much as the BOM.



  1. Law of supply and demand. When returns were high, more people invested in training to be a barrister. Now they aren’t fewer will do so so whilst it will take a while to balance out anyone earning less than £100k will probably go off and do something else as you say.

    Of course it’s been the same for engineering for decades and it still hasn’t balanced out so maybe you have a point. Salaries are low except in certain disciplines so nobody goes to uni to study engineering anymore but instead of raise salaries to the level needed the companies try to recruit larger numbers of poorer quality cheaper staff from abroad.

  2. Why should the cost of qualifying as a barrister determine average remuneration, Mike? It’s a competitive profession – big rewards for a few at the top and meagre pickings for a lot at the bottom. Which is why there are a lot of non-practising barristers who go off and do other things.

  3. DM : “According to PayScale the average barrister’s salary is £48,670 pa”

    Thought I’d have a look around this site and the median salary for several job descriptions of our ilk are lower than the graduate starting salary in that field. I thus suspect the barrister earning (not salary as they are self-employed) is also somewhat understated. Given all the costs of a law degree then the hassle of getting into chambers and finally taking a loan to purchase your place in an association, I would suspect £100k is nearer the mark.

  4. ok, I’ll accept the distinction 🙂

  5. As examples of laws passed by men who were not rich, Mike they are good examples. As an example of enlightened legislation, they were not good.

  6. david manners : “Well Keith I would instance post-1789 France, post-1917 Russia and post-1945 Britain as exceptions to that rule”

    The first leading to The Terror and the Thermidorian Reaction and only ended by a military coup, the second leading to mass starvation and then the Stalinist purges and still possibly not ended, the the third to nationalisation and mass poverty until 1979 and to the NHS which certainly beats the French example for lives lost if not quite on a par with the Russian one.

    Not a good set of examples !!!

  7. Very true, Keith and the rise of the oligarchy has been accompanied by a polarisation of wealth which, according to the fashionable French economist Thomas Picketty, is caused by prolonged periods of peace. So the catalyst for restoring democracy and fair distribution of wealth is war, or at least a violent revolution.

  8. Hi David, well there were certain times in history when it may not have been true in all cases, but since the 80’s it certainly is. We have cases like the big Pharma companies sueing EU countries for banning pesticides that have been proven to destroy wildlife. We have a certain former lawyer who ruled that the UK was right to invade Iraq (under pressure from his overlords, maybe). Oh and guess what, legal aid is being cut so now the poor stand even less chance of winning justifiable cases. We live not in a democracy any more, we live in an oligarchy based on tyranny.

  9. Barristers are self-employed and therefore earn as much, or as little, as they are deemed to be worth, The Baron. According to PayScale the average barrister’s salary is £48,670 pa.

  10. We are all honoured, Dr Bob, to have a scion of Shakespeare gracing these pages. It accounts for the elegance of your penmanship but not for the universal applicability of your sentiments – e.g. the EU court yesterday which upheld a $1.44bn fine on Intel – not exactly a case of bullies getting their way.

  11. “Well DB you wouldn’t think that judging by the lawyers’ protests when the politicians recently passed a law cutting back on legal aid.”

    Yes, the poor dears. I’ll show some sort of sympathy when the jury system stops paying a pittance under threat of jail if you refuse. I note none of the legal establishment would deign to get out of bed – or even just lift the sheets by farting – for jury rates.

  12. A remote cousin wrote about this many many moons ago with his “Kill all the lawyers” !

    Still waiting for it to happen…………

    The law is not and never has been about justice but about applying the will of the biggest bullies/thugs on the rest of the population ‘legally’

  13. Well DB you wouldn’t think that judging by the lawyers’ protests when the politicians recently passed a law cutting back on legal aid.

  14. David: The law in the UK is made for lawyers by lawyers.

    (And their mates, professional politicians).

  15. Indeed “The Baron” the most logical thing that will happen next is that Zond will declare itself bankrupt, but not until first moving all the money and the IP into a brand new company and then gleefully start all over again.
    TSMC may try to start another suit against the new company.
    Rinse and repeat that a couple of times and TSMC will surely give up, it is after all not their core business … for the Zond meisters however it is their core business … it is a sad situation …

  16. Well Keith I would instance post-1789 France, post-1917 Russia and post-1945 Britain as exceptions to that rule

  17. Never forget – the law is made for the rich by the rich. It has always been this way, and always will be.

  18. It’s the lawyers who make an ass out of the law, Silverman, and the more they’re paid the more they’ll try to twist and pervert the law to help their client. But the law, like a gun, is neither good or bad, clever or stupid, it’s those who get their hands on it who decide that

  19. Yes fned, you see depressingly few rich people or big companies losing cases. The fact that they’ll pay huge money for clever lawyers speaks volumes as to whether the justice system delivers justice.

  20. The law is an a$$ – the most $$$$$$ wins.

  21. Humm… how can something be called a “justice system” when the rewarded are the undeserving, and you still need the 800pound gorilla to actually shut the trolls up ?

  22. Yes the trolls are becoming a PITA, The Baron, everyone knows it but no one can do much about it.

  23. Ya beauty! Ideally this will bankrupt Zond stone dead and in doing so send a nice warning to the other trolls. Fingers crossed.

    The Baron

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