February 14 2019

Region’s share of semiconductor development grew in 2018

Times Union

By: Larry Rulison

Albany – The Capital Region’s share of U.S. semiconductor device development increased in 2018, according to the latest patent analysis by the Center for Economic Growth.

In 2018, Capital Region scientists were issued 1,302 semiconductor-device patents, out of 25,170 issued nationwide, which is a 5.2 percent share, according to CEG.

In 2017, the Capital Region share of semiconductor device patents was 4.8 percent. In 2016, it was 4.1 percent, CEG reported.

IBM generates the majority of the local semiconductor device inventions, accounting for 785 of the 1,302 patents in 2018. GlobalFoundries and General Electric Co., which has its research operations located in Niskayuna, were second and third on the list.

Computer chip scientists file patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect their inventions, and so CEG uses the patent data to measure how much semiconductor innovation is taking place locally.

CEG counts a patent toward the local total if a local inventor is listed on the patent application. CEG looks specifically at semiconductor device patents, which covers everything from computer chips to light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

Locally, there is a lot of semiconductor development at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany and at GlobalFoundries’ Fab 8 computer chip factory in Malta. IBM has a large presence at SUNY Poly, as do semiconductor manufacturing equipment suppliers like Tokyo Electron and Applied Materials. GlobalFoundries also does joint development with its customers that produce patents in some cases.

There are also smaller semiconductor technology companies that also file parents that add to the total.

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