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2021 Comparison of Trends in Invention Patent Applications in Taiwan and WIPO PCT Applications


In 2021, TIPO received 49,116 invention patent applications, while WIPO received an estimated number of 277,500 international patent applications (PCT applications) filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Of Taiwan’s invention patent applications, semiconductors (6,360) and computer technology (4,283) took the top 2 spots among 35 technology fields. However, computer technology (26,092) remained the main technology field among WIPO PCT applications, while semiconductors (8,346) ranked 10th. As for applicants, TSMC and Huawei took the lead in Taiwan and WIPO PCT applications, respectively. Moreover, Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics were both among the top 10 applicants in Taiwan and WIPO PCT applications.

Invention applications rebounded in Taiwan while WIPO PCT applications maintained a modest growth

Overall invention patent filings in Taiwan rebounded with an increase of 5.3% in 2021, following the decline in 2020 brought on by a drop in non-resident filings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, WIPO PCT applications grew by 3.6% in 2020, attributable to the surging growth in applications from China. However, the number of applications decreased in March and from September to year-end, seeing a slight yearly increase of 0.9% overall (Fig. 1, Fig. 2, and Fig.3).

Taipei-Hsinchu accounted for 56.3% of resident invention applications in Taiwan in 2021

Applicants residing in Hsinchu City filed the most applications in 2021, at 4,711, followed by applicants from Taipei City (3,282) and New Taipei City (3,007). The top three cities combined accounted for 56.3% of all applications filed in 2021, up by 6.2 percentage points compared to 2017. On the other hand, Hsinchu City saw the fastest growth (+23.3%) in 2021, followed by Hsinchu County (+7.9%) and New Taipei City (+1.6%) (Fig. 4).

Semiconductors and computer technology took top spots in Taiwan and WIPO PCT applications, respectively, in 2021

In 2021, semiconductors (6,360, +19.6%) topped the technology fields of invention patent applications in Taiwan, while the field of computer technology had the most WIPO PCT applications published (26,092, +7.2%). Both the top ten technology fields in invention applications in Taiwan and WIPO PCT applications included semiconductors, computer technology, electrical machinery, audio-visual technology, measurement, and pharmaceuticals (Table 1).

Furthermore, semiconductors topped all technology fields, accounting for 12.9% of invention applications in Taiwan in 2021 but ranked 10th with a share of 3.2% in WIPO PCT applications. This indicates that Taiwan remains outstanding in the semiconductor industry. On the other hand, digital communication and medical technology claimed two out of the top three spots in WIPO PCT applications. However, they were not among Taiwan’s top ten technology fields of invention applications.

Health-related technology fields grew both in Taiwan and in WIPO PCT applications, with pharmaceuticals reporting the fastest growth in 2021

In Taiwan, pharmaceuticals rose by 26.3% in 2021, followed by biotechnology (+19.1%), while medical technology remained stable (-0.1%) after a surge in 2020. As for WIPO PCT applications, pharmaceuticals also had the fastest growth of 12.8% in 2021, followed by biotechnology (+9.5%) and medical technology (+6.0%) (Table 1, Fig. 5).

Certain top filing countries (regions) that mostly filed invention applications in semiconductors, computer technology, or organic fine chemistry in Taiwan primarily filed WIPO PCT applications in computer technology, digital communication, or electrical machinery

For invention applications received by TIPO, Taiwan, Japan, the U.S., and the Republic of Korea filed the most applications in semiconductors (shares of 12.0~18.3%). On the other hand, computer technology accounted for the largest proportion of applications (13.9%) for Mainland China, while Germany filed the most in organic fine chemistry (11.6%). The top three technology fields of the two aforementioned countries (regions) did not include semiconductor (Table 2).

WIPO PCT applicants from Mainland China (a share of 15.6%) and the US (12.4%) filed more applications in computer technology; those from Japan and Germany filed intensively for patents related to electrical machinery (10~11%). The top technology field in R. Korea was digital communication (11.5%). The top three technology fields of these countries did not include semiconductor (Table 2).

TSMC led in the number of invention patent application filings in Taiwan, while Huawei remained the top filer of WIPO PCT applications in 2021

As regards invention applicants in Taiwan, TSMC (1,950) filed the most applications in 2021, followed by Qualcomm (845) and Applied Materials (758). Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), coming in tenth, is the only research institute among the top 10 applicants. The top 10 WIPO PCT applicants were all businesses. Of them, Huawei topped with 6,952 WIPO PCT applications published in 2021, followed by Qualcomm (3,931) and Samsung Electronics (3,041); the latter two both claimed top 10 spots in Taiwan as well (Fig. 6).

Seven of the top 10 applicants in Taiwan were also top filers in the field of semiconductors, while most top 10 WIPO PCT applicants had the greatest shares in digital communication

Seven of the top 10 applicants in Taiwan (Fig. 6), TSMC, Qualcomm, Applied Materials, Samsung Electronics, Tokyo Electron, AU Optronics, and Kioxia, are also among the top 10 applicants in semiconductors. Furthermore, TSMC, Applied Materials, ASML, and AU Optronics claimed the top in computer technology, electrical machinery, optics, and audio-visual technology, respectively (Table 3).

Six of the top 10 WIPO PCT applicants filed most applications in digital communication, including Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Huawei, Guang Dong OPPO Mobile, LG Electronics, Qualcomm, and Samsung Electronics. On the other hand, Mitsubishi Electric had its largest share in thermal processes and apparatus, BOE Technology filed intensively in semiconductors, Panasonic Intellectual Property Management filed mainly in electrical machinery, and Sony filed most in computer technology (Fig. 7).


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  • Publish Date : 2022-09-19
  • Update : 2022-09-19
  • Organization : International Legal Affairs Office
  • Visitors : 1094

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