Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, was the No. 1 Taiwanese firm in invention patent applications in the country for the first half of this year, according to the Intellectual Property Office under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Meanwhile, U.S-based smartphone chip designer Qualcomm Inc. took the top spot among foreign firms in invention patent applications in Taiwan, the office said.
Under Taiwan's patent law, patents are categorized into three groups: invention patents, utility model patents and design patents, with invention patents the most important in terms of the creation of technical ideas.
Data compiled by the office showed TSMC filed 345 invention patent applications in the past six months, up 5 percent from a year earlier.
Flat panel maker AU Optronics Corp. came in second after filing 244 invention patent applications, up 89 percent from a year earlier, ahead of integrated circuit designer MediaTek Inc. (177, up 7 percent), PC brand Acer Inc. (163, up 20 percent) and iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (138, down 36 percent).
According to the office, Hon Hai was the only Taiwanese firm in the top 10 to record a year-on-year decline in patent applications.
Pegatron Corp., another iPhone assembler, was the No. 6 Taiwanese invention patent applicant after filing 100 applications in the six month period, up 156 percent from a year earlier, followed by smartphone brand HTC Corp. (96, up 146 percent), the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (88, up 11 percent), IC designer Realtek Semiconductor Corp. (77, up 45 percent), and telecom services provider Chunghwa Telecom Co. (67, up 72 percent).
Meanwhile, Qualcomm filed a total of 585 invention patent applications in Taiwan in the first half of the year, up 120 percent from a year earlier, followed by U.S.-based semiconductor production equipment supplier Applied Materials Inc. (299, down 3 percent).
Alibaba Group Services Ltd., a subsidiary of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. took third place among foreign firms by filing 123 patents, down 57 percent from a year earlier, ahead of Japanese semiconductor firm Tokyo Electron Ltd. (193, up 12 percent), and Japanese electronics component maker Nitto Denko Corp. (156, up 23 percent).
The office said among the top 10 foreign largest invention patent applicants in Taiwan, Japanese firms took five spots, indicating Japanese enterprises are keen to extend their reach in the Taiwan market.
As for university applicants, the data showed, National Chiao Tung University took first place by filing 47 invention applications in the six month period, up 74 percent from a year earlier.
In the first half of the year, the office received a total of 8,408 invention patent applications, up 4 percent from a year earlier. (By Liao Yu-yang and Frances Huang)