Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, ranked in the third quarter as the biggest patent applicant in Taiwan for the sixth consecutive quarter, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said Tuesday.
The office said that according to data, TSMC was the top patent applicant in both the local and foreign business communities in Taiwan, while U.S.-based integrated circuit designer Qualcomm Inc. secured the top place among foreign firms operating in the country.
The data showed that TSMC filed 389 invention patent applications in the July-September period, down 27 percent from a year earlier, but still retained first place for the quarter.
Under Taiwan's patent laws, 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 new technical ideas.
Flat panel supplier AU Optronics Corp. came in second among Taiwanese tech firms, filing 111 invention patent applications, down 8 percent from a year earlier, ahead of PC brand Acer Inc. (104), communication network IC designer Realtek Semiconductor Corp. (102) and contract notebook computer maker Inventec Co. (57), the data indicated.
According to Hong Shu-min (洪淑敏), director-general of the IPO, Acer posted the highest growth of 35 percent among the top five Taiwanese applicants in the third quarter, as the company made great efforts in penetrating the health care market.
After Qualcomm, which filed 213 invention patent applications in the third quarter -- up 14 percent from a year earlier -- American semiconductor production equipment supplier Applied Materials Inc. took second spot with 173 applications, followed by Japanese memory chipmaker Kioxia Corp. (141), Japanese semiconductor supplier Tokyo Electron Ltd. (137) and electrical product maker Nitto Denko Corp. of Japan (117), the IPO said.
In terms of design patents, the data showed that L&F Plastics Co. secured the title as the top local applicant with 36 applications followed by Acer (25), while U.S.-based Ford Motor Co. took first place among foreign applicants with 113, followed by French auto maker Renault S.A (68).
In the third quarter, the IPO said, the office received a total of 18,895 invention, utility model and design patent applications, down 0.4 percent from a year earlier thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, with applications from 10,397 local firms and 8,498 from foreign counterparts.
In the quarter, Japan was the largest invention patent applicant in Taiwan, filing 3,075 applications, ahead of the U.S. (1,564), China (742), South Korea (464) and Germany (256), the data showed.
China was the largest utility model patent applicant in the three- month period with 200 applications, followed by Hong Kong (30), the U.S. (25), Japan (15) and The Cayman Islands (12), while Japan took top spot in design patents with 295 applications, followed by the U.S. (276), France (123), China (106) and Switzerland (73), the data indicated.