SIA Semiconductors

Policy Priorities

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is the lifeblood of the semiconductor industry, and SIA supports policies that encourage innovation, including the protection of intellectual property.  The continued success of our industry and continued American leadership in semiconductor design and manufacturing depends on a strong and balanced patent system and strong protections for trade secrets.

Another important aspect of IP protection is SIA's anti-counterfeiting agenda.    

The semiconductor industry is research intensive—members invest, on average, about one-fifth of revenues to research and development. Much of this research results in inventions that receive patent protection, demonstrating the importance of intellectual property to semiconductor innovation. Semiconductor companies, including several SIA members, are regularly among the top recipients of U.S. patents each year. In 2015, three of the top five and five of the top 15 recipients were U.S. semiconductor companies. Of the total patents granted to the top 15 companies, nearly half (48 percent) went to U.S. semiconductor companies. 

SIA member companies are increasingly concerned about abusive patent litigation that needlessly raise litigation costs and seriously undermine innovation by redirecting research expenditures and other resources to litigation expenses. Unfortunately, existing procedures to combat abusive litigation practices are currently applied by the courts in such a manner that they fail to achieve their objective in curbing such abusive behaviors.

To address this issue, we encourage the judiciary to take steps to address this problem through modifications to the practices under their control. At the same time, we believe there is merit in Congress taking action to reduce abusive patent litigation. Accordingly, SIA supports legislation affirmatively awarding attorneys’ fees and other costs, in appropriate cases, to prevailing parties in patent cases.

To that end, SIA encourages Congress to consider whether 35 U.S.C. § 285, which provides that a court may award reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party only in "exceptional cases," should be modified to more effectively deter abusive litigation conduct. SIA also encourages Congress and the courts to consider other mechanisms to deter abusive behavior and streamline patent cases, such as imposing more specific pleading requirements in patent cases.

 SIA supports reforms to prevent abusive patent litigation behavior, and believes that such reforms should be applied in a balanced manner to all litigants.  Adopting these and other appropriate and balanced disincentives for abusive patent litigation will help advance innovation and improve the overall patent system.

Charter Members