Taipei, Aug. 3 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, was the largest invention patent applicant in Taiwan in the first half of this year, according to the Intellectual Property Office.
As for foreign firms, Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, ranked as the largest invention patent applicant in Taiwan in the first six months of this year, according to data compiled by the office.
Under Taiwan's patent law, patents are categorized in three groups -- invention patents, utility model patents and design patents -- with invention patents the most important in terms of the creation of technical ideas.
In the first half of this year, TSMC filed 429 invention patent applications, up 24 percent from a year earlier, well ahead of flat panel maker AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), which was in second position with 318 invention patents, up 30 percent from a year earlier.
In the first quarter, AUO took first place, but yielded the title to TSMC at the end of June.
Integrated circuit designer MediaTek Inc. came in third with 163 invention patent applications in the six-month period, down 8 percent from a year earlier, ahead of PC brand Acer Inc. at 162, down 1 percent, and Realtek Semiconductor Corp., another Taiwanese IC designer, at 134, up 74 percent.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world's largest contract electronics maker, took sixth spot with 104 invention patents, down 25 percent from a year earlier, followed by the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute with 81, down 8 percent, Wistron Corp., another electronics maker with 74, up 23 percent, China Steel Corp., the largest steel supplier in Taiwan, with 71, up 61 percent, and power management solution provider Delta Electronics Inc., with 65, up 33 percent, and memory chip maker Winbond Electronics Inc., with 65, up 10 percent.
On the foreign enterprise front, Alibaba filed 408 invention patent applications to take the No. 1 title, up 92 percent from a year earlier, ahead of U.S.-based semiconductor production equipment supplier Applied Materials Inc., with 291, up 27 percent, U.S.-based chip designer Qualcomm Technologies Inc., with 267, down 54 percent, Japan's semiconductor supplier Tokyo Electron Ltd., with 256, up 33 percent, and Tokyo Electric Wire Industrial Co., with 185, up 19 percent.
The 54 percent fall in applications posed by Qualcomm was because the U.S. firm made great efforts in 5G technology development in 2018, which boosted the comparison base over the same six-month period of that year, the office said.
According to the data, in terms of countries or regions, Japan was the largest foreign invention patent applicant in the first half of this year, filing 6,707 applications, up 5 percent from a year earlier and well ahead of the United States, which made 3,047 applications.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong enjoyed the largest year-on-year growth of 56 percent among foreign invention applicants in the first half of the year, the data indicates.