TSMC tops all Q1 patent applicants in Taiwan

04/30/2022 08:36 PM
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CNA file photo
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Taipei, April 30 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, filed the largest number of patent applications among all local and foreign applicants in the first quarter of this year, according to the Intellectual Property Office under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Among all foreign applicants, U.S.-based smartphone IC designer Qualcomm Inc. was the largest patent applicant in Taiwan for the January-March period, the office said.

Data compiled by the office showed that in the first quarter, TSMC filed a total of 723 invention patents, a quarterly high for the chipmaker since the office started tallying patent applications in 2012.

TSMC's first-quarter invention patent applications rose by about 7 percent from a year earlier, reflecting the chipmaker's efforts to upgrade its technologies and maintain its lead over its peers.

TSMC is currently working to develop the sophisticated 2-nanometer chip-making process, having started commercial production on the 5nm process, and is conducting trial runs of the 3nm process with the goal of starting mass production in the second half of this year.

Under Taiwan law, patents are categorized into three groups -- invention, utility model, and design -- and invention patents are considered the most important in terms of new technology ideas.

Communication network IC designer Realtek Semiconductor Corp was second among Taiwanese companies after filing 107 invention applications in the first quarter, down by 4 percent from a year earlier, ahead of flat-panel maker Innolux Corp. with 98, memory chip supplier Nanya Technology Corp. with 98, and flat-panel maker AU Optronics Corp. with 88.

Other tech companies

Smartphone IC designer MediaTek Inc. was sixth with 66 invention patent applications in the first quarter, followed by PC brand Acer Inc. with 63, contract electronics maker Wistron Corp. with 58, contract notebook computer maker Inventec Corp. with 47, and memory chipmaker Macronix International Co. with 46, the data showed.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm filed 242 invention patent applications in the first quarter as the top foreign applicant in Taiwan, up by 13 percent from a year earlier, the office said.

American semiconductor equipment supplier Applied Materials Inc. was second among foreign invention patent applicants with 206 applications, up by 61 percent from a year earlier, followed by Japanese electrical product maker Nitto Denko Corp. with 149, Japan-based semiconductor supplier Tokyo Electron Ltd. with 142, and Japanese memory chip supplier Kioxia Holdings Corp. with 134, the office added.

U.S.-based semiconductor giant Intel Corp. filed 71 invention applications in the first quarter, and while this was the ninth-highest among foreign applicants, it also represented a year-on-year increase of 914 percent, according to the office.

Q1 total

In the first quarter, a total of 12,534 invention patent applications were filed, up by 5 percent from a year earlier, while the number of applications from foreign applicants rose by 10 percent to 7,837, and the number of applications from local applicants fell to 4,697 from 4,742, the office said.

The number of invention, utility model, and design patents filed in Taiwan hit 17,498 in the first quarter, up by 2 percent from a year earlier, according to the office.

(By Tseng Chih-yi and Frances Huang)

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