Top 100 Patent Applicants in 2020

According to TIPO’s 2020 Statistical Rankings for Patent Applications and Grants, TSMC was the top domestic applicant for invention, utility model, and design patents in 2020, with 1,096 applications filed. The company has held on to its lead for the fifth consecutive year now. As for foreign applicants, Qualcomm reclaimed the top spot, having filed a total of 720 applications in 2020. With respect to the number of patents granted for all three patent types, TSMC led the pack for domestic applications (680 patents granted), and Advanced New Technology was the most successful foreign applicant (588 patents granted). Applications by domestic schools and colleges of the top 100 went up by 24%.

1. TSMC is top domestic applicant for fifth year in a row

As regards domestic applicants, TSMC has consistently filed the most applications since 2016. In 2020, that number once again exceeded 1,000. The company was followed in second and third place by Acer (523 cases) and AU Optronics (466 cases). Realtek Semiconductor (420 cases) and Compal (209 cases) each filed their highest number of applications ever, coming in fourth and ninth, respectively. Inventec ranked seventh, filing 236 applications (up 27% – Table 1), and HON HAI was in 8th place with 231 applications (up 16% – Table 1).

When looking at the top 100 domestic applicants filing for patents of any type, we see that enterprises are a major driving force for R&D and innovation. With respect to applications filed by enterprises of the top 100 applicants in 2020, invention patent applications were by far the most common (78%); also of note is that applications for utility model patents increased by 19%, while those for design patents grew by 29% (Figures 1 to 4).

2. Eight banks among top 100 domestic applicants – Land Bank of Taiwan takes lead; Hua Nan Bank applies for most invention patents
There were eight banks among the top 100 domestic patent applicants in 2020. Collectively, these banks filed 736 applications (up 18%), continuing a three-year growth streak. Filing the most patent applications was Land Bank of Taiwan (133 cases), while Hua Nan Bank was the top applicant for invention patent applications (43 cases – Table 3). The total number of invention patent applications filed by the eight banks was 224, marking an increase of 8% compared to the previous year.

3. National Cheng Kung University claims first place in college rankings for invention patent applications; National Taiwan University, National Tsing Hua University, and National Chiao Tung University all record double-digit growth

Twenty-seven colleges were among the top 100 domestic applicants for patents of any type. The Taipei City University of Science and Technology ranked first with 181 applications, of which most were for utility models (174 cases). This ensured the university a place among the top ten of all domestic applicants. Meanwhile, the most invention patent applications were filed by National Cheng Kung University (109 cases), followed by National Tsing Hua University (102 cases), National Chiao Tung University (86 cases), and National Taiwan University (82 cases) – increases ranged from 10% to 64% (Table 4).

4. Industrial Technology Research Institute takes crown for invention patent applications filed by research centers

Five research centers were also among the top 100 domestic applicants for patents of any type. Placing fifth in the overall rankings was the Industrial Technology Research Institute with 352 applications, comfortably outperforming any other research center. Behind it was the Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (97 cases) – (Table 5).

5. Qualcomm reclaims top spot among foreign patent applicants

As for the top ten foreign applicants, Qualcomm moved back into pole position, with its number of patent applications increasing by 24% to reach 720 cases. Altogether, there were three semiconductor equipment manufacturers in the top ten: Applied Materials (652 cases) and Tokyo Electron (460 cases) came in second and fourth, respectively, and Disco (291 cases; sixth place) filed its highest number of applications in ten years. Computer memory manufacturer Kioxia ranked fifth with 338 cases, and Ford Global Technologies (243 cases) also entered the list (Table 2).

With respect to patent applications filed by foreign applicants among the top 100 in 2020, most applications were for inventions (87%). While applications for invention and design patents were down, those for utility models saw an increase of 11% (Figure 5).

Top 100 Patent Applicants in 2020_attachment

Source:Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs