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TSMC top patent applicant in Taiwan for 8th straight year

02/10/2024 06:30 PM
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CNA file photo
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Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, applied for the most patents of any Taiwanese entity in 2023 for the eighth consecutive year, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Among foreign companies in Taiwan, the MOEA said Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea ranked as the top patent applicant in Taiwan in 2023 for the first time.

TSMC filed 1,956 invention patent applications last year, its most ever and 28 percent more than in 2022.

Samsung submitted a new high of 978 patent applications in Taiwan in 2023, up 45 percent from a year earlier, data compiled by the MOEA's Intellectual Property Office showed. All but one were for invention patents.

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

Liao Cheng-wei (廖承威), director general of the office, said TSMC remained a driving force in the growth of upstream IC design to downstream IC packaging and testing services by maintaining its status as the largest patent applicant in Taiwan.

Liao said TSMC and Samsung's efforts in boosting their patent portfolios in Taiwan show that Taiwan has become a hub for the global semiconductor industry.

TSMC has invested heavily in research and development to maintain a technology lead over its rivals.

It was the first chipmaker in the world to mass produce chips made with the advanced 3-nanometer process and is developing the more sophisticated 2nm process, which is expected to begin commercial production in Hsinchu in 2025.

After TSMC, smartphone IC designer MediaTek Inc. came in second among Taiwanese applicants, with 544 applications in 2023, up 32 percent from a year earlier.

It was followed by flat panel maker AUO Corp. (460, down 9 percent), PC brand Acer Inc. (419, down 21 percent), and dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chip supplier Nanya Technology Corp. (373, up 1 percent).

Contract notebook computer maker Inventec Corp. took sixth place with 330 patent applications in 2023, up 14 percent from a year earlier, followed by flat panel maker Innolux Corp. (326, down 3 percent).

Rounding out the top 10 were the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (315, down 5 percent), communication network IC designer Realtek Semiconductor Corp. (271, down 18 percent), and power management solutions provider Delta Electronics Inc. (270, up 32 percent).

After Samsung, American semiconductor equipment supplier Applied Materials Inc. was the second largest foreign patent applicant in Taiwan in 2023 with 779 applications, down 12 percent from a year earlier.

That was ahead of U.S.-based smartphone IC designer Qualcomm Inc. (639, down 16 percent), Japanese semiconductor and display production equipment supplier Tokyo Electron Ltd. (555, up 14 percent), and Japanese electrical product maker Nitto Denko Corp. (478, up 7 percent).

Rounding out the top 10 foreign applicants were South Korea's e-commerce operator Coupang Corp. (454, up 222 percent), Netherlands-based semiconductor equipment supplier ASML Holding N.V. (309, up 19 percent), Japan's Fujifilm (285, up 6 percent), Japan-based semiconductor silicon provider Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. (272, down 1 percent), and American wafer-fabrication equipment supplier Lam Research Corp. (264, up 22 percent).

Liao said the surge in patent applications by Coupang showed the South Korean company's ambition to penetrate Taiwan's logistics market.

In 2023, patent applications by local companies grew for a seventh consecutive year, by 1 percent to 12,922, while foreign companies filed 14,910 patent applications, up 2 percent from a year earlier, according to the data.

(By Liu Chien-ling and Frances Huang)

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