Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) filed the most patent applications in the nation in the first half of the year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Intellectual Property Office said on Wednesday.
The world’s leading contract chipmaker filed 429 applications, an increase of 24 percent from a year earlier, while China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) filed 408, a 92 percent increase, the office said.
Flat-panel maker AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) was second among local firms with 318 applications, up 30 percent, while IC designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) and PC maker Acer Inc (宏碁) followed with 163 and 162, down 8 percent and 1 percent respectively, the office’s data showed.
iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) and the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (工研院) saw declines of 25 percent and 8 percent, to 104 and 81 respectively.
Alibaba remained the largest foreign applicant, followed by US-based semiconductor production equipment supplier Applied Materials Inc with 291 patent applications, up 27 percent year-on-year, while US mobile phone chip giant Qualcomm Inc was third with 267, down 54 percent, the office said.
Japanese precision tools maker Disco Corp was the only other foreign firm in the top 10 to see an annual decline, with its 131 applications down 14 percent from last year, the office said.
In the first half of the year, total applications increased 1 percent to 22,775, with foreign firms making up 62 percent thanks to applications from Japan increasing 5 percent.
Small and medium-sized local enterprises have seen positive growth in the past three years, with a 16 percent increase in applications in the first half of the year, the office said.
The Patent Act (專利法) classifies patents in three categories: invention, design and utility model.
Applications for design patents grew 10 percent to 4,259, with foreign firms’ applications making up 54 percent, the office said.
Foreign applications from Japan, the US and France increased by 7 percent, 17 percent and 400 percent respectively, it said.
However, applications for utility model patents decreased by 5 percent to 8,500, with local firms’ applications accounting for 94 percent, it said.