TSMC unseats Hon Hai as domestic patent application leader in 2016

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Contract chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) filed 873 patent applications in Taiwan in 2016, ending Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.’s long reign as the domestic company with the most patent filing.

The number of TSMC’s patent applications in 2016 rose 74 percent from the previous year, reflecting its active efforts to further strengthen its presence in Taiwan, the Intellectual Property Office under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said Tuesday.

Hon Hai, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, had led domestic companies in patent applications for the previous 14 years, but fell to third place in 2016 with 400 filings, according to Intellectual Property Office statistics.

Because of Hon Hai’s high volume of applications in past years, however, it still led domestic companies with 982 patents approved in 2016, the office said.

Intellectual Property Office Director-General Hong Shu-min (洪淑敏) said Hon Hai slid in the patent application rankings in 2016 because of a change in its business strategy to focus more on the “quality” rather than “quantity” of its patents.

Finishing second among domestic institutions for patent filings was the Industrial Technology Research Institute, the leading technology R&D organization in Taiwan, with 468 applications, the statistics showed.

Among foreign corporations, Intel Corp. led all companies with 905 patent applications in Taiwan in 2016, followed by Qualcomm with 616 and Japan-based Semiconductor Energy Laboratory with 470, according to Intellectual Property Office figures.

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