SEMI Embarks On Global IP Support

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SEMI Embarks On Global IP Support Program

Intellectual property (IP) has been a major concern for SEMI members in the microelectronics and related industries. With increasing levels of globalization and the rapid evolution of next generation technologies, the problem has become a significant threat to industry growth and profitability. To address these concerns, SEMI has undertaken a number of programs to enhance IP value and strengthen IP rights for members worldwide.

In a 2006 survey conducted by SEMI, 47% of respondents surveyed ranked IP issues as “extremely serious business challenges”, and an additional 35 % ranked them as “somewhat serious.” Almost three-fourths stated that IP issues have already had an adverse commercial impact on their company. In estimating the costs of IP piracy, several respondents estimated large losses from a decline in market share or damage to brand by low quality copies parts or systems.

In the survey, patent infringement of core products and technology was rated as the most common type of IP violation followed by the counterfeiting of spare parts, components and core products. Trade secret theft and human resource problems were also mentioned by several respondents.

A Broad-Based Approach

To meet the industry’s IP challenges, SEMI has created a number of programs and services to comprehensively address the issue. Last year, there were a number of important steps taken, including establishing IP Working Groups, the publication of an IP Best Practices paper, and the initiation of an IP information area on the website. In 2007, SEMI is planning an IP White Paper for Fall publication that seeks to quantify the economic impact of IP violations, provide a fact-based summary of the issues, raise awareness of the problem, and recommend remedies.

Other programs scheduled include the development and execution of a two-day Global IP Management course for delivery in the US, followed soon by international rollout to other manufacturing regions of the world. Elements of the course include a one-day IP Asset Management module, followed by modules on Asserting IP Rights and International Developments for the second day.

In 2007, SEMI will also host an IP Webinar that will raise awareness, highlight global issues and further action items. Other activities include active outreach with regional government officials to discuss our industry’s challenges and the next steps needed. SEMI will also engage with groups such as other semiconductor industry associations and regional organizations such as the U.S. Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy to discuss joint activities.

Intellectual property rights and protections will remain challenging issues for the future. But, through the collaborative and coordinated efforts of SEMI members and other organizations, the industry can minimize negative impacts and maximize a healthy, supportive environment for the creation of valuable intellectual property.