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).
Overall Invention patent filings in Taiwan rebounded with an increase of 5.3% in 2021, following the decline of 3.3% in 2020 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. (Fig.1, 2).
In 2021, semiconductors topped the technology fields of invention patent applications in Taiwan, While the field of computer technology had the most WIPO PCT applications published. 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.
In Taiwan, Pharmaceuticals rose by 26.3% in 2021, followed by biotechnology, while medical technology remained stable after a surge in 2020. As for WIPO PCT applications, pharmaceuticals also had the fattest growth of 12.8% in 2021, followed by biotechnology and medical technology.
As regards invention applicants in Taiwan, TSMC filed the most applications in 2021, followed by Qualcomm and Applied Materials. 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 and Samsung Electronics; the latter two both claimed top 10 spots in Taiwan as well (Fig.6).
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).