Once upon a time, the appalling “Hanxin” fraud incident caused the development of “Chinese chip” to stagnate for 13 years, leaving a lot of haze on the Chinese chip industry. However, the shadow has not completely dissipated, and the Chinese chip industry has made waves again!
Recently, the “one-paper statement” of Shanghai Xinlianxin has caused a thousand waves in the chip industry, causing widespread concern and discussion in the industry. Shanghai Xinlianxin said that LoongArch may have a risk of intellectual property infringement and has initiated legal proceedings against it, which is currently underway.
The dark past of China Chip’s “Hanchip fraud” incident
The CPU, equivalent to the brain of a computer, is regarded as the “Mount Everest” of the semiconductor industry because of the high R&D threshold and the difficulty of ecological construction.
If a country has the core technology of chips, it is equivalent to standing at the forefront of international scientific and technological development!
China is a country with extremely high demand in the chip market in the world, but for a long time the chip self-sufficiency has been seriously insufficient. This is because the chip industry has always been China’s weakness, from the earliest large computer IBM era to the PC era Intel , AMD era, the chip has always been monopolized by the United States.
So, why didn’t China develop its own chips in the early days?
In fact, as early as 20 years ago, China has attached great importance to the field of independent chips. From the early years, the policy of full support for people, money, and materials in the field of chips has been tilted. Later, it was cautious in this field. Thanks to a shocking fraud incident in the field – the Hanxin fraud incident!
The Hanxin fraud incident has played a very negative role in the development of China’s chip industry. The industry commented that Hanxin’s fraud has stagnated the development of “China Chip” for 13 years. .
Here we briefly talk about the whole story of Hanxin’s counterfeiting incident and its impact on China’s chip industry.
First of all, let’s start with the protagonist of the incident, Chen Jin, a former professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Before the “Hanxin Shade” was exposed, Chen Jin had countless halos lingering on him, returnees and young scholars. He had worked as a chip design manager at Motorola Semiconductor Headquarters and served as a senior chief engineer.
It is precisely because of such a “glamorous” resume that he served as the chief designer of “Hanxin” as soon as he returned to China. In fact, Chen Jin lived up to expectations. It only took 16 months to officially announce the successful development of “Hanxin No. 1”, and was hailed by the industry as “an important milestone in the history of China’s chip development”.
Chen Jin’s “great success” not only brought flowers and applause, but also a prestigious title and a lot of research and development funds. He was specially hired by Shanghai Jiaotong University as a Changjiang Scholar, served as the dean of the School of Microelectronics, and received hundreds of millions of R&D funds. In addition, he also became CEO of Shanghai Silicon Intellectual Property Exchange Center and President of Shanghai Hanxin Technology Co., Ltd.
In 2006, Tsinghua University BBS posted “Hanxin Shady”, anonymously reporting Chen Jin’s Hanxin CPU forgery. According to this leaked post, in 2002, Chen Jin went to the United States and asked his former colleagues at Motorola to download the source code of a Motorola chip without permission. With this source code, Chen Jin made “Hanxin 1″. No”.
However, the chips produced in this way cannot be used in actual system applications, because the chips are not coded. Later, the reporters’ in-depth excavation not only revealed more fraudulent details of the “Hanxin” processor, but also revealed that Chen Jin’s resume and education were fraudulent. The once “national hero” has instantly become a liar who deceives the world!
Although the whole incident is very tortuous, it can be summed up in one sentence: a returnee bought the chip of the former company, asked a decoration worker to sand the LOGO with sandpaper, and then used it as a chip developed by himself, easily defrauding the national government. billion in R&D spending.
The Hanxin fraud incident has caused immeasurable losses to China’s independent chip development plan. What is even more distressing is that what should have been a critical opportunity for the development of China’s chips was destroyed by a shocking scam. This not only caused us to suffer huge economic losses, but also missed the best opportunity for development, so that even today, our chip industry still cannot get rid of the situation of “being controlled by others”. Involved in the Hanxin fraud incident, the development of Shanghai Silicon Intellectual Property Exchange Center cannot escape the huge shadow; similarly, if Loongson’s breach of contract is verified, more unwitting Loongson sublicensers may also be implicated and damaged.
Suspicion looms over Loongson Zhongke, will the “Hanxin Incident” make a comeback?
Godson is one of the earliest companies in China to start developing domestic CPUs. The others are Tianjin Feiteng, Huawei Kunpeng, Zhaoxin Integration, Shenwei Technology and Haiguang Information.
About Loongson, the well-known story is that in May 2001, Loongson was born in the Loongson research group supported by the Knowledge Innovation Project of the Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Hu Weiwu voluntarily invited Ying to serve as the chief scientist and form a team.
However, in the past 20 years of development, Godson has not been smooth. It has been shrouded in the suspicion of infringement and breach of contract for several times. In 2006, it was pointed out by MIPS for plagiarism. Holding MIPS Corporation) issued a warning letter.
Back in 2003, with Loongson 1, the Loongson team successfully applied for the national 863 key project, and there were only two indicators to complete the 863 task, the CPU frequency reached 500MHz, and the space CPU2000 (the internationally recognized CPU test software at that time) scored in 300 or more.
For these two goals, the Loongson team invested a lot of manpower and material resources, and finally designed Loongson 2 within a year. The score of this chip on space CPU2000 exceeded that of Intel’s Pentium 2 at that time.
However, the good times did not last long. In 2005, after the market research company In-Stat published a report that Godson 2 may be suspected of infringement, it immediately aroused strong attention in the industry.
In 2006, MIPS, an American semiconductor design company, claimed that 95% of Godson’s instruction set is similar to MIPS, which is plagiarism. At that time, Loongson said that although Loongson 2 had similarities with MIPS R1000 in design ideas, it was not a replica of the latter, nor did it copy the design ideas of any other chip products. Analysts at the time believed that if the Loongson 2 manufacturer and MIPS could not reach an agreement, it would likely lead to the first intellectual property conflict between Chinese and American chip companies.
Unfortunately, it was also in the same year that the Hanxin fraud incident was exposed. As a typical representative of China’s core, Godson, which was just starting at that time, was also involved in it, and doubts such as “foreign core Chinese shell”, “Godson and Hanxin are the same thing”, “Godson and Hanxin cool the Chinese heart” are overwhelming.
However, three years later, MIPS announced that the single-function products in the structure of MIPS32 and MIPS64 were authorized to Loongson, and the two parties carried out long-term strategic cooperation with restrictive terms (no modification, no sublicense of IP, etc.), but this brought Loongson’s “Cheating of funds” and “pseudo-independence”.
Moreover, the marketization of Loongson’s products was not smooth at that time, mainly because Loongson, which was tired of dealing with patent disputes and plagiarism, failed to launch a popular Electronic product, and the advancement of the software ecosystem was even more difficult.
In April 2021, Loongson released three volumes of the autonomous command system architecture “LoongArch”. The public held a grand press conference for Loongson, but only the cover was released in the name of national security and confidentiality education, which inevitably raised questions. Then, Godson released the “Loongson Architecture Reference Manual Volume 1: Infrastructure (V1.00)”, and declared that “The Godson architecture has three characteristics: complete autonomy, advanced technology, and compatible ecology. The Godson architecture starts from the top layer of the entire architecture. From planning, to the functional definition of each part, to the code, name, and meaning of each instruction in detail, the architecture can be redesigned independently, with full autonomy.”
However, shortly afterward, the issue of the incomplete publication of the contents of the second and third volumes of the manual by Godson “LoongArch” once again caused the industry to question whether it has truly achieved full “independence”. Another intellectual property dispute. . . . There are rumors in the industry that volume 2, volume 3, and suspicion of infringement have reached Intel and AMD. Does LoongArch touch various instruction sets, so the full text and author have not been published? Historically, the instruction sets published by various domestic units include Ark, Zhongzhi, Zhongtianwei, etc. … All in all, only LoongISA and LoongArch are kept secret, and it is necessary to keep secrets in order to build an ecology, which will inevitably lead to criticism.
Godson, Hanxin’s treatment of the source of the product has touched the depth of China’s protection of intellectual property rights. 13 years ago, Hanxin wiped off the imprint on the chip. Will LoongArch after 13 years change the cover of the various instruction integrations? Is this practice for patriotism or cheating? In the past, Hanxin may have been The dispute between Chinese and American companies, and now the dispute between Godson and Xinlianxin, does not need to be entangled in patriotism, but is a dispute between two Chinese companies over the boundaries of intellectual property laws and regulations. If the long-term interests of the country are used as the driving force, a precedent-setting intellectual property case can be used to realistically demonstrate the level of intellectual property protection in my country, and it will be subject to a strong and highly objective inspection by the legal community. It will help and promote China’s booming semiconductor and chip industries. Going to the global market will be of great benefit.
Re-engage in tort disputes and wait for legal judgment
After 20 years of hard work, it has finally come to this day. When Godson Zhongke announced the “launch of the independent command system architecture LoongArch” and was preparing for the IPO on the Science and Technology Innovation Board, it encountered the “breach of contract infringement” crusade by Xinlianxin. .
The protagonist of the lawsuit is also a Chinese company, namely Shanghai Chiplink, which was established in 2018. According to public information, Chiplink has obtained the exclusive and irrevocable commercial operation rights of MIPS Technology in China from Wave Computing in early 2019 (including more than 30 MIPS customers), and has been granted permanent global patent licenses for CPU cores, including all infrastructure, all MIPS instruction set architectures compatible with CPU core licenses and core sublicenses, more than 1,000 MIPS-related patents, optimized Fab In the process, the performance of existing CPU cores, the development of new CPU cores and derivative cores, support for all advanced technology activities and international projects of domestic and foreign customers, as well as all their technologies and derived secondary research and development rights and naming rights, and traceable litigation rights .
Since then, Godson Zhongke has become a customer of Xinlianxin. In addition to the agreement with MIPS to pay the authorization fee every five years, Godson Zhongke also needs to pay royalties to it every quarter. Since the first quarter of 2019, Godson Zhongke has paid this fee to Xinlianxin until the first quarter of 2020.
According to a related report from Phoenix.com, “After undertaking the business of MIPS, Chiplink has sorted out all the business of MIPS in China. In the process, it has found that Loongson Zhongke has breached the contract. For the specific breach of contract, Chiplink It is believed that there are three aspects, one is the secondary development of the MIPS instruction set in violation of the regulations, the second is the sub-authorization of the MIPS IP in violation of the regulations, and the third is the failure to pay the relevant authorization fees and underpayment of the royalties.”
In this context, at the beginning of June this year, CoreLink issued a statement saying that after more than a year of communication with Godson Zhongke to no avail, Godson Zhongke still insisted on announcing “completely abandoning MIPS to issue an independent command system”, etc. The propaganda and reporting of the content deviate from the facts, which damages the legitimate rights and interests of CoreLink, and over the years, Godson Zhongke has not fulfilled the relevant licensing agreements as agreed, including failing to pay it on time and in full for the royalties and other related fees for technology licensing.
In response to the statement of Xinlianxin, Godson Zhongke responded on the same day that Xinlianxin continued to publish various malicious slander, defamation letters of Godson Zhongke and Godson Zhongke products and independent intellectual property rights to Godson Zhongke’s partners and the public. information, which seriously violated the legitimate rights and interests of Loongson Zhongke and caused extremely bad social impact. Loongson Zhongke has taken legal action and will investigate the legal responsibility of Xinlianxin and related personnel.
But the core problem is that Godson Zhongke did not provide any substantive reply or legal evidence to all the issues mentioned in the statement of the core unit. This further increases the industry’s doubts about Godson Zhongke’s substantial infringement and breach of contract and questioned “Hanxin No. 2”.
The next day, Xinlianxin issued a response to its statement. While affirming the status of Loongson Zhongke in the industry, it suggested that Godson Zhongke abide by industry practices, immediately release the complete contents of the “LoongISA” and “LoongArch” manuals, and publish all “LoongISA” and “LoongArch” manuals in a timely manner. LoongArch” research and development personnel list, to face the sound.
However, so far, Loongson Zhongke has not responded positively to the second voice of the core, nor has it released the complete contents of the “LoongISA” and “LoongArch” manuals.
In the development process of domestic CPUs including Godson, there are more detours than straight ones. Whether it is the dilemma of public opinion, the cost of the structural route or the pressure of market-oriented transformation, it has never escaped negative news such as “plagiarism, infringement, breach of contract”.
Hu Weiwu once mentioned in an interview with reporters that the so-called independent innovation actually has three modes of definition: original innovation, introduction, digestion, absorption and re-innovation, and integrated innovation. What kind of “independent innovation” is the complete manual disclosed? Why is Godson’s technology still not as good as other manufacturers after more than 20 years of development? Right”, “Loong ISA is extended from MIPS instruction sets of various generations” and other official propaganda materials from Godson Zhongke, which may only be proved by Godson Zhongke’s legal documents.
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