by Falan Yinug, Director, Industry Statistics and Economic Policy
U.S. companies engaged in semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing were among the top U.S. corporate patent recipients in 2018, according to an analysis of new data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
U.S. semiconductor firms consistently rank high on this list, because the U.S. semiconductor industry invests roughly one-fifth of its annual sales into research and development (R&D), among the highest shares of any U.S. industry. This significant investment in research generates valuable intellectual property, including patents.
For such an R&D-intensive industry to thrive, policymakers must invest in semiconductor research and protect intellectual property (IP). These two policy actions are key ingredients in SIA’s recently released blueprint for sustained U.S. leadership in semiconductor technology, Winning the Future. The blueprint calls for the U.S. government to triple federal investment in semiconductor-specific research across federal scientific agencies and double U.S. research investments in semiconductor-related fields across federal scientific agencies to spur leap-ahead innovations in semiconductor technology. It also calls for increasing resources for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent and prosecute semiconductor IP theft.
The latest patent rankings demonstrate the research-intensive nature of the semiconductor industry. Congress and the Administration must complement industry R&D with their own increased research investments, as well as increased resources to prevent IP theft. Doing so will sustain and strengthen U.S. semiconductor leadership.
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