October 13 2020
Advanced Materials,Nanotechnology,News,Research & Development

NY Capital Region Inventors Listed on 1,400+ Semiconductor Device Patents in 2019 – up 8%


More Semiconductor Innovation attributable to Capital Region than Any State except CA

ALBANY, NEW YORK – As the semiconductor industry rallies to increase domestic chip production, Capital Region inventors are driving even more innovation to support that re-shoring movement. In 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued 1,404 semiconductor device-related patents that listed a Capital Region inventor – a 7.8 percent increase from the previous year, according to a Center for Economic Growth review of patents listed in the PTO’s patent database.

This R&D capacity played a critical role in attracting to the Capital Region what became GlobalFoundries’ Fab8 in Malta. According to a recent Semiconductor Industry Association report, the nation’s share of semiconductor manufacturing capacity has dropped to 12 percent from 37 percent in 1990. To reverse that trend, SIA said “closer R&D collaboration between design and manufacturing is needed to develop innovations in architecture and materials that could sustain the continuous leaps in performance and cost in future semiconductor generations on which the technology sector and advanced defense systems rely.” The CHIPS for America Act, now under consideration in Congress, proposes $12 billion in semiconductor R&D funding over the next five to 10 years.

“Semiconductor technology is central to the world economy and touches every aspect of human existence,” said Ron Sampson, senior vice president and general manager of U.S. fab operations at GlobalFoundries. “For the last decade, GlobalFoundries has been a leader in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and research, strongly leveraging its successful partnership created in New York State. Continued investment in semiconductor manufacturing and technology research remains critical to maintaining our hub of innovation in New York State’s Capital Region, while at the same time strengthening U.S. leadership in the development of new technologies that will underpin the global economy for future generations.”

“Our country is currently undergoing an economic crisis and investing in Upstate New York’s semiconductor industry and in the creation of high paying manufacturing jobs is critical” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “The Capitol Region is leading the way in semiconductor innovation and continues to set a high bar for domestic manufacturing. I’m proud to co-sponsor the CHIPS Act, which will help the region expand our advanced manufacturing workforce and invest in the cutting edge research and development that is essential to our country’s national security and domestic supply chain.”

State Semiconductor Patent Output

Illustrative of the Capital Region’s dominance in the industry, no state in the country, except California (3,424), had more semiconductor device-related patents listing local inventors than the region’s eight counties. In 2019, the PTO issued a total 28,193 patents with Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) H01L class, which primarily covers semiconductor devices but also covers otherwise unclassified electric solid state devices. However, among those patents, only 8,674 listed U.S. inventors. That meant Capital Region inventors had a hand in one in 20 patents of all patents issued in 2019 and one in six with a U.S.-listed inventor.


More than five-sixth (85.7 percent) of the patents listing Capital Region investors were assigned to IBM and GlobalFoundries. Over the year, IBM’s tally increased by 10.4 percent to 867 and GlobalFoundries’ total increased by 6 percent to 335. The most robust patent growth came from Tokyo Electron, which saw an 80 percent increase to 63.

In all, semiconductor device-related patents listing Capital Region inventors were assigned to 27 companies, including Texas Instruments, Lam Research, General Electric, Sensor Electronic Technology, KLA-Tencor Corp., and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

R&D Assets

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area is one of less than 50 metro areas nationwide where businesses spend more than $1 billion on R&D annually, according to data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). Additionally, Capital Region university R&D spending in 2018 totaled $550.6 million and supported 4,009 researchers. More than half of those expenditures (56 percent) went toward engineering R&D, mostly at SUNY Polytechnic Institute and RPI.

“SUNY Polytechnic Institute is at the forefront of research, innovation, and education, and along with our leading-edge partners, continues to support New York State’s high-tech ecosystem. The high number of semiconductor-centered patents awarded to inventors throughout Tech Valley is a testament to the success of the region’s innovative capabilities and world-class expertise,” said SUNY Polytechnic Institute Interim President Grace Wang.

Not reflected in these patent statistics is Applied Materials’ Materials Engineering Technology Accelerator (META Center), an $880 million R&D hub for prototyping of new materials, process technologies and devices. The META Center opened at SUNY Poly in late 2019. Earlier this month SUNY Poly also announced it has received a $2.3 million grant from Tokyo Electron for research primarily on sub-10 nm transistor production in the field of plasma science.

These R&D assets support the Capital Region’s Advanced Electronics Cluster, which includes GlobalFoundries, IBM, Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron. In 2019, the Advanced Electronics Cluster employed 9,975 in the region’s eight counties, including 3,635 in the semiconductor device manufacturing industry and 5,675 in the R&D in the physical, engineering, and life sciences industry.

“Between SUNY Poly and RPI, the Capital Region has amassed a semiconductor R&D infrastructure and knowledge base that dwarfs those of entire states, many of which are trying to catch up with what New York has achieved. The fact that 48 states, excluding New York, cannot rival the semiconductor device innovation prowess of our eight counties speaks volumes about how unique the Capital Region is and how it is an asset to national defense and the U.S. supply chain,” said CEG President and CEO Mark Eagan.

CEG Activities

Even amid COVID-19, CEG has continued its decades-long tradition of supporting the Capital Region’s semiconductor industry. Since 2015, CEG has represented the Capital Region at 27 semiconductor industry events worldwide, including the virtual SEMICON West last summer. CEG has also served as a group sponsor for a new apprenticeship program for more than 50 GlobalFoundries workers and preparing industry attraction marketing materials that highlight the strength and size of the advanced electronics R&D and manufacturing sector.


The Center for Economic Growth (CEG), an affiliate of the Capital Region Chamber, is the Capital Region’s regional economic development organization, supported by hundreds of investors in business, government, education, and the not-for-profit sectors. CEG is also a New York Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation-designated Regional Technology Development Center and an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). For more information, visit www.ceg.org



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