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Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) is a critically important issue for the semiconductor industry. Strong and effective IP protection is fundamental to a company’s ability to innovate, develop new technologies and methods, and move forward in a competitive industry. On average, semiconductor industry companies invest about 15% of their revenues back into R&D each year, near the top of any U.S. industry. SEMI is working to provide educational opportunities for companies, to work with governments to strengthen IP enforcement, and to advocate on the industry’s behalf.”

Global IP Protection
SEMI supports free, fair and open trade. This includes rigorous adherence to internationally recognized intellectual property laws. We support World Trade Organization (WTO) policies and urge all governments and companies to adhere to these commitments, including those in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs).

Governments
IP protection is in everyone’s best interests. Strong IP policies can benefit countries by helping to attract foreign investment and encouraging domestic companies to engage in innovation. SEMI urges governments to ensure that they have effective IP protection and enforcement policies. SEMI supports robust copyright standards, strong patent protections, and regulations that safeguard industrial design. SEMI also strongly supports rules that preserve trade secrets protection, including establishing criminal procedures and penalties for theft, including by means of cyber theft. These measures should serve as a deterrent to IP violations and should include provisions for criminal prosecution, when appropriate. Prosecuting IP violations should not result in retaliation against the company making the claim. While many trading partners have sufficient IP protections, there clearly is a need for more effective enforcement.

Companies
All companies should take steps to avoid infringement of others’ intellectual property. This includes ensuring that purchases of new and used equipment, spare parts, and other components are legitimate and not counterfeit. This also includes ensuring that sensitive information is respected and is not shared with other parties. These principles must be embraced by all levels within a company and not just the highest corporate levels. Companies benefit from IP protection through continued investment in innovation and promotion of a global culture that respects the IP associated with semiconductor devices and other products. 

IP Resources

Spotlight on Global IP Cooperation

The Five IP Offices (IP5) is a forum of the world’s five largest IP offices: China, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States. As more than 90 percent of global patent applications are handled by these offices, this work will increase efficiencies, reduce backlogs and improve quality. The offices have agreed to a work-sharing arrangement that should result in a significant increase in patent examination capacity. This is an excellent example of global cooperation that contributes positively to technology development and innovation.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) IP attaché program works to improve intellectual property systems internationally for the benefit of U.S. stakeholders. IP attachés are posted at U.S. missions around the world to address intellectual property issues arising in their assigned regions. Find an attaché in your region.