Five of the top fifteen U.S. corporate patent recipients in 2016 were U.S. semiconductor companies, equaling the number of firms ranked in the top 15 in 2015. These figures are based on an analysis of new data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. See table below.
The consistently high ranking of industry leaders on this list relates to the fact that U.S. semiconductor companies collectively invest roughly one-fifth of total sales annually into research and development (R&D). In fact, the U.S. semiconductor industry invests a higher share of its sales back into R&D than any other U.S. industry.
For such an R&D-intensive industry to thrive, patents and other forms of intellectual property must be protected. Only in such an environment can innovation continue. This is why one of SIA’s top policy priorities is intellectual property protection. Intellectual property is the lifeblood of the U.S. semiconductor industry, and its protection is critical for continued U.S. global leadership.
Also, for industry-based R&D to be most effective, it must be coupled with high levels of federal investments in university-based, pre-competitive research. These two types of R&D work in tandem, synergistically creating the incredible innovation breakthroughs our industry has long delivered. But such breakthroughs can only continue when both industry and government R&D are generously funded. This is why another top SIA policy priority is funding for basic research. When it comes to R&D funding, the latest patent numbers show the industry continues to do its part. SIA is working hard to ensure the government does its part, as well.