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Taiwan’s Patent Activities in 2020, TSMC and Qualcomm continue taking the lead

Bilingual Version

新冠肺炎蔓延全球的影響下,2020年台灣智慧財產局 (TIPO) 受理的專利申請案,較 2019年減少 3%,主要歸因於外國人申請減少逾 2000件,公告發證情況亦然。但國內發明專利申請案有小幅成長,來到 2014年以來最高水平,我國中小企業申請量年增 17% 、大專院校年成長16%尤為可觀。

申請人排名方面,台積電  (TSMC )、高通 (Qualcomm) 分佔國內外最大專利申請人;台積電專利獲證數排名同樣第一。

Under the global threat of Covid-19, Taiwan saw a slight (3%) reduction in patent applications in 2020. That was mainly caused by a significant decrease of  non-residents’ applications, 2000 plus cases less than the previous year. Applications filed by residents also dropped by 1%; but the case number for inventions still grew to the highest level since 2014.  Among local applicants, SMEs and universities made an impressive 17% and 16% annual growth in patent filings.

As to the rankings for patent applicants and recipients, TSMC retained the top (domestic and overall) applicant for the fifth consecutive year, with  a total of 1,096 patent applications, and 680 grants in 2020.

台灣是國內外半導體、電子業者的創新主戰場   

Taiwan is a major battlefield for innovation in the semiconductors and electronics industries

2020年在 COVID-19 疫情下,智慧局受理案件略為下滑,三種專利申請案總計 72,238件,包括 46,664 件發明專利、及 8,019 件設計專利申請案,分別較 2019年減少 3%、9%,新型專利則有 17,555 件,數量與前一年相當。

從發明專利申請案的類別看,超過10% 屬於半導體相關發明,5%屬於運算科技領域;排名領先的國內外申請人,也屬於這2個領域佼佼者,反映台灣市場已經是半導體及電子業的全球主戰場。

台積電不意外地 4度蟬聯國內最大申請人,2020年申請量雖減少近2成,仍維持千件水平,領先其他國內外申請人甚多。

國內排名第四的瑞昱(420件)、及第九名仁寶(209件)申請量亦寫下各自歷史紀錄;第七名英業達(236件)、第八名鴻海(231件)分別成長27%、16% ,疫情下未鬆懈創新腳步。

According to the data released by the TIPO, new applications for all three types of patents in 2020 have dropped by 3.2 percent to 72,238 cases. Of these, 46,664 cases were filed for inventions with a 3.3 % decrease from 2019; 17,555 cases ( 5% ↘) were for utility models, and 8,019 cases ( 8.9%↘) were for designs.

Of the applications filed for inventions, more than 10 percent are semiconductor related and around 5 percent involve digital data processing. A closer look at the top 10 applicants shows that tech companies from semiconductors and electronics industries dominate the top ten rankings. This fairly reflects Taiwan’s role in global markets.

The biggest patent filer from Taiwan is no surprise. TSMC, with a total of 1,096 applications for inventions, has maintained its top ranking for the fifth year in a row. The company filed 20% fewer applications but this was still double the amount of all its followers.

The Acer ranked 2nd with 523 applications for all three patent types, followed by AUO(466 ), Realtek (420), ITRI (352), MediaTek (330), Inventec (236), Hon Hai (231), Compal Electronics (209) and the TPCU (181). Among the leading applicants, Realtek and Compal Electronics both showed their best records in history. Inventec and Hon Hai also presented a 27% and a 16% growth respectively.

中小企業、及大專院校表現突出

SMEs and Universities reaped rich gains in 2020

儘管外國申請案量大減,本國人發明專利的申請仍見微幅成長,全年累計19.012件,為 2014年以來最高紀錄。其中,台灣中小企業 ( 17% ↗)、及大專院校 (16%↗) 成長尤其亮眼 ,可說是彌補了大型企業 (4%↘)及個別發明人(11%) 短少的申請案量。

細看申請量領先的國內申請人,2020 年共有27所大學擠進百大榜單,比 前一年增加 2 所,半數申請量增加超過2成,僅2校專利申請總量下滑。

城市科大首度以181件申請案榮登各校之首、國內排名第10,與排名12 的遠東、第28名萬能、第42名樹德等多數科技大學,申請類別以新型專利為主。 若以發明專利來看,成功大學 (109件) 為2020年最強發明院校,清華大學 (102件)、陽明交通大學 (86件)、臺灣大學 (82件) 次之,此外國立科技大學包括勤益、高雄、台灣、台北、虎尾、屏東、雲林等校,發明專利申請案也都有豐碩成長。

Apart from the applications filed by foreigners, there were 19,012 invention patent applications (0.1%) filed by residents in 2020, a record high since 2014. SMEs and Universities particularly outperformed and enjoyed a 17 percent and 16 percent yearly growth, respectively.  Such growth was able to set off the 4 percent fewer applications filed by big enterprises in the same year.

Further zooming in on other leading resident applicants in 2020, there are 60 enterprises, 27 universities, 5 research institutes, and 8 banks in the top 100 list. Enterprises are no doubt a crucial driving force for innovation breakthroughs in Taiwan. The listed 60 enterprises filed 6,315 new applications for inventions, 1,599 applications for utility models, and 599 applications for designs. This could be converted to 33% of overall residents’ applications for Invention in the year, and 9.5% and 14.7% for the remaining two patent types.

Another 1822 new cases for inventions, 1375 cases for Utility models, and 89 cases for designs were filed by leading applicants from academic fields. More than half of universities have seen a 20% annual growth. The NCKU (National Cheng Kung University ) outshone all other top-tier universities with a 62.5% annual growth from 109 applications for inventions and 21 for other types.  It was followed by the National Tsing Hua University with 102 cases, Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (86 cases), and Taiwan University (82 cases). A few universities specializing in technology and engineering also each submitted as many invention applications in 2020.

成大專責協助解決問題

NCKU  provides applicants much needed support from the very beginning

發明專利申請案量一年暴漲 155% 的成功大學,目前技術轉移率達18%,權利金年收入也突破6億新台幣。如此創新動能應可歸功於該校近年針對專利活動品質的提升,所付出的諸多努力。

以2020年重組更名的產學創新總中心 ( NCKU Innovation Headquarters)為例,該中心整併校內80多個研究單位(包括產學合作、及跨校聯盟)、統合一年約9億新台幣的研發資金,並在專利活動的各個階段,提供發明人必要的協助與輔導。

Not only was there an amazing growth in patenting research outcomes, NCKU also reached an exceptional 18% patent technology transfer rate, which has brought more than NTD 100 million dollars every year. Such admirable momentum in patent activities didn’t come out of the blue. The university has made a great effort to build a nourishing environment and motivational climate for patent discoveries and technology commercialization. 

For example, its Innovation Headquarters was set up in recent years to be home to more than 80 R&D centers and to enhance the overall synergies by leveraging resources, including administrative supports, with around NT$900 million in yearly R&D funding.

審查效率維持水準   加速審查節約一半以上時間

Average pendency for invention patents examination remains First-Class among developed countries

TIPO 年度審查效率方面,根據統計,2020 年發明專利初審案平均首次通知期間為 8.7 個月,平均審結期間為 13.9 個月,優於日本韓國中國、及歐美且 水準相當穩定。

當局也首次公開 4 類加速審查作業方案(AEP)、2 類專利審查高速公路(PPH)計畫的平均審查效率。AEP案平均首次回覆期間約為 44-87 日,平均審結期間約為 131-200 日,審查時間不到其他申請案的1/3。臺美 PPH 與臺日 PPH 之平均首次回覆期間約為 41-57 日,平均審結期間在 121-136 日之間;縮短的審查時間也非常可觀。

Last but not least, let’s take a quick look at the average pendency for invention patents this year. With TIPO’s continued effort to enhance its examination efficiency, the average first office action pendency for invention patent was 8.4 months, and the average disposal pendency was 13.6 months. Both were better than those of IP office in Japan, Korea, China, EU and the US.

TIPO as well released the average pendencies for the Patent Prosecution High (PPH) programs and the Accelerated Examination programs (AEP) in 2020. As of the end of 2020, the average first office action pendency for patents filed under the TIPO-USPTO and the TIPO-JPO PPH programs was between 41 and 57 days, and the average disposal pendency was between 121 and 136 days. As for the AEP requests, the average first office action pendency was between 44 and 87 days, and the average disposal pendency was between 131 and 200 days.

These programs can save significant time for applicants. PPH programs currently works with IP offices between Taiwan and the US, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Spain, Canada, Poland and other countries. The AEP requests are applications with either one of following conditions:

  • with corresponding patent granted under substantive examination by a foreign patent authority;
  • with an office action issued by EPO, JPO or USPTO during the substantive examination;
  • when the invention patent application is essential to commercial exploitation;
  • related to green energy technology.

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