Deep & Far Newsletter 2023 ©
Nov (1)

Taiwan IP Updates  V November 2023

By Lyndon 


Taiwan Tech Arena Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Tech incubator Taiwan Tech Arena was formed by the Cabinet in 2018.  Its aim was to nurture chip-focused start-ups and recruit international talent to Taiwan by optimizing the investment environment for start-ups and create programs to encourage youth entrepreneurship and regional vitalization.  The Cabinet has approved more than 90,000 applications for youth entrepreneurship loans and assisted young start-ups in obtaining more than NT 73.5 billion dollars in financing.  More than 700 start-ups have been created with this help in such fields as artificial intelligence (AI), software and health applications.  In effect, the organization bridges the gap between academia and the private sector via the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).  Next year, the government plans to launch the Chip-Driven Taiwanese Industrial Innovation Plan.  By actively assisting entrepreneurs to protect their IP, the plan will roll out new initiatives to bolster connections with other countries, promote industrial innovation while integrating Taiwan’s industrial supply chains.  The 10-year plan seeks to take advantage of Taiwan’s strengths in semiconductors to drive breakthroughs in sectors related to food, medicine, housing, transportation, education and entertainment.  Currently, there has been a lot of investor excitement over ChatGPT, and indeed the potential for patents in semiconductor technologies and software related design has given a boost of optimism to the sector.


Taiwan Increases Research and Development Spending

In a study organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs researching the period 2012 to 2021, it was seen that Taiwanese companies accelerated research and development investment to an all-time high of NT 820.6 billion in 2021.  A lot of the research and development has been driven by semiconductor companies.  The spending was up 14.2% from NT 718.8 billion in 2020, which was the fastest pace on record.  In the 10-year period from 2012, local companies have expanded R & D spending at an annual compound growth rate of 7%.  As a proportion of GDP, the spending in 2021 was 3.8%, up 0.2% from 2020.  This means that in 2021 Taiwan was the third-largest R & D spender among the world’s major economies in 2021, surpassing 3.5% in the US, Japan with 3.3% and Germany with 3.1%.  In 2021, Israel was the first, with R & D investment being 5.7% of its GDP.  South Korea was second, with R & D investment being 4.6% of GDP.  92% of spending on R & D in Taiwan was in the manufacturing sector, with local manufacturers investing NT 639.26 on R & D, which was up 17% from the previous year.  Manufacturers of computers, other electronics and optical products including semiconductors contributed about 78% of Taiwan’s total R & D expenditure in 2021.  Those firms increased spending by 19% from 2020 to 2021.  Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. boosted R & D spending by about 20% to US 4.46 billion from US 3.72 billion in 2020, primarily to develop next-generation chips.  In 2022, the chipmaker increased spending on R & D efforts to US 5.47 billion, mostly to develop 3-nanometer technology.


Comparing Taiwan Invention Patent Applications and WIPO Applications  

Of Taiwan’s invention patent applications, semiconductors (at 45%) claimed the top spot among 35 technology fields in 2022, while computer technology (10.4%) took first place for all WIPO applications.  In Taiwan, invention patent applicants from Taiwan, China, Japan, the United States and South Korea filed mostly in the semiconductor category while the same countries filed mostly in computer technology, digital communication and electrical machinery for WIPO.  Looking at individual applicants, TSMC took first place in Taiwan, and Huawei was first in WIPO.  In 2022, 50,242 invention patent filings were filed in Taiwan, an increase of 2.3% due to surging growth between 9.4% to 16.1% in applications from the US, China and South Korea.  On the other hand, approximately 278,100 applications were received by WIPO, marking the slowest increase of 0.3% since 2009.  Of the applications, filings from China and Japan demonstrated a marginal growth of under 0.1% while filings from the US decreased slightly at less than 1.0%.  Since the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) was established in 1999, the number of invention patent applications in Taiwan has grown by 3.6% per year on average.  Semiconductors topped all technical fields, followed by computer technology, electrical machinery, optics and audio-visual technology.  On the other hand, since applicants worldwide began filing patent applications through the WIPO Patent Cooperation Treaty system in 2013, the number of applications has grown by 11.5% per year on average.  Computer technology ranked first out of 35 fields, together with medical technology, digital communication, electrical machinery and pharmaceuticals making up the other top five technology fields.  In comparison with Taiwan, there is more digital communication and health-related technology patenting in WIPO applications.