Semiconductors

The Debate on AI Qualifications for Inventorship

The USPTO recently rejected two patent applications filed, which named an AI “creativity engine” called DABUS as the inventor. Similar patent applications filed under British, German, and European Union patent regulators have also been rejected. Other applications naming DABUS as the inventor filed in China, Japan, India, and several other countries are still awaiting decisions. Now, the creator of DABUS, Stephen Thaler, has filed a lawsuit against the USPTO, claiming that an AI system is capable of generating original inventions.   While the USPTO asserts that “conception—the touchstone of inventorship—must be performed by a natural person,” Thaler argues that the...

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Yolanda Huang

WISPRO Expert Corner 2020/07/17

Are M&A in Semiconductors Trending Again? Verifying M&A Business Strategies via Patent Data On July 13, 2020, Semiconductor chipmaker Analog Devices Inc (ADI) announced it would buy rival company Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM), making it the largest M&A deal in the chipmaking sector this year. Reported by Reuters, the transaction to acquire MXIM will cost ADI about 21 billion, the deal is expected to boost ADI’s market share in self-driving and 5G chips. Interviewed by Reuters, ADI’s Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Roche opined that combining the engineering teams of both companies is expected to enable the design and production of ICs...

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WISPRO Expert Corner 2020/07/09

Survey on Functional Limitations in Japanese Computer Software Related Patents Fellow practitioners who deal with Japanese patent drafting may notice that there seems to be liberal employment of functional limitations in Japanese patent claims; Japanese agents seem to have a soft spot for (pure) functional/intended use/end result claim limitations, regardless of the technical field of the invention. The Japan Patent Office (JPO) recently commissioned the well-known Shiga International Patent Office to conduct a practical research survey on the usage of functional terms in domestic computer software patents. The scope of the survey includes questionnaires for several Japanese companies. The results...

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WISPRO Expert Corner 2020/07/01

US Semiconductor Industry to Face Challenges as China Bolsters Local Semiconductor Technology The latest U.S. trade policy aimed at Huawei has caused damage to the U.S. semiconductor industry. An article entitled “Huawei Sanctions: Bad for Telecoms, Global Semiconductors, and the U.S. Economy” details the short-term and longer-term effects of the new policy on the U.S. semiconductor firms, global wireless, and international trade overall. Christopher Taylor, Director of R.F. & Wireless Components and author of the report, stated: “The new trade policy aimed against Huawei seems to be motivated by U.S. domestic politics rather than a clear understanding of international trade...

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Chester Su

WISPRO Expert Corner 2020/06/19

The Innovation Patent System of Australia Will Be Phased out in 2021. The innovation patent system of Australia will be phased out on Aug 25th, 2021, inventors will no longer be able to apply for innovation patents in Australia after this date. Compared to the standard patent system, the innovation patent system is an alternative patent system in Australia that does not need substantial examination and an 8-year lifespan. The innovation patent system is comparable to the “utility model” patents of Taiwan, China, and Germany. The innovation patent used to be an inexpensive solution for individual inventors or SMEs to...

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Patrick Liu

WISPRO Expert Corner 2020/06/16

China’s Zero-Emission Business Opportunities [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="750"] Photo credit: Toyota[/caption] The carbon footprint has always played an essential role in global environmental protection issues. In recent years, the rapid growth of the electric vehicle field has also reflected the automotive industry’s determination to keep up with the world’s environmental protection trends. However, regarding zero-emission, in addition to electric vehicles that only consume electricity and not oil, the market has another option: fuel cells that use alternative energy. According to reports, Toyota—which is the leading global automotive company—and five other Chinese automotive companies (BAIC, GAC, FAW, Dongfeng, and SinoHytec), recently set up a joint venture called United Fuel...

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Alvyn Lin

WISPRO Expert Corner 2020/06/11

Could Heterogeneous Integration Become the Standard in the Semiconductor Industry? According to WISPRO Manager Steven Chang: Industry News and Patent Data Suggest Heterogeneous Integration Is the Key Technology for the Future. As 5G, AI, self-driving vehicles, and data centers are becoming commercialized in various application scenarios. The end product clients (e.g., Apple, Google) are playing a more involved role in chip design, leading to a significant shift in the status quo of the semiconductor supply chain. Subsequently, the IC designers will be requested on demand for diverse and highly customized chips from the end clients. In such a manner, heterogenous integration...

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Jean Chou

WISPRO Expert Corner 2020/06/05

Apple Buys Virtual Reality Company NextVR, What’s Next? WISPRO Manager Jean Chou: Choose M&A Targets by Patent Search and Patent Analysis [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="750"] Photo credit: NextVR[/caption] The COVID-19 epidemic has dramatically changed people’s work and life patterns. AR and VR products have gained a lot of attention recently as they satisfy the requirements of staying at home and working remotely. The acquisition of NextVR—a VR content broadcasting start-up— shows that Apple still has a high degree of interest in VR products, based on CNBC’s report. NextVR is a broadcaster of VR content. If Apple wants to enter the VR market, the acquisition of NextVR would only be the...

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Bace Tseng

WISPRO Expert Corner 2020/06/04

Volkswagen Invests $2.6 Million in Argo AI. Is the Self-Driving Car Supply Chain Ready? WISPRO Manager Patrick Liu: Upstream Manufacturers Must Focus on the Patent Layout of Major Automakers [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="750"] Photo credit: Argo AI[/caption] According to a Detroit News report, Volkswagen AG (VM) announced its intention to invest in Argo AI—a self-driving startup—in July last year. On June 1 this year, the two parties closed a cooperation investment deal worth $2.6 million. Argo AI, which was established less than five years ago, has attracted the attention of Ford since 2017, and the two parties have jointly developed self-driving car-related technologies to this...

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