Navigating Patent and Trademark Law in Semiconductor Design
4 minute read
April 19, 2024


Ever wondered what it’s like to walk through a maze blindfolded? That’s a bit of what diving into semiconductor patent law feels like for the uninitiated. 

The semiconductor sector encompasses the design and fabrication of essential components like transistors and integrated circuits, and it’s a major force driving the electronics industry. 

As of 2023, the global semiconductor industry’s sales reached $526.8 billion, reflecting its critical role in modern technology and economic growth. Sales projections estimate $726.73 billion by 2027.

Economic numbers like this reveal that your competition is going to be equally huge. 

In today’s competitive landscape, a semiconductor patent does more than protect an invention. It represents a significant asset for businesses, providing you with a competitive edge and potentially opening new revenue streams through licensing or strategic partnerships. 

Moreover, it deters competitors from encroaching on your technological territory, securing your position in the market. 

Here’s what you need to know about semiconductor patents.

Get your free consultation now.

The concept of protecting your innovations

Semiconductor patents protect a wide array of innovations, including new types of semiconductor materials, fabrication processes, semiconductor device structures, and the integration of semiconductors into systems and circuits. 

The protection extends to the functional aspects of these technologies, barring others from making, using, selling, or importing the patented innovation without authorization. 

To provide a visual example, securing a patent is like putting a force field around your starship (your invention), to keep the intellectual property raiders at bay.

Decoding the semiconductor patent application process

The process of patenting semiconductor technology begins with a thorough patent search. 

This is done to ensure your invention is:

  1. Novel 
  2. Non-obvious over existing technologies

These two factors are crucial, as semiconductor patents must meet the same criteria of novelty, utility, and non-obviousness as other types of patents. 

A new boost for semiconductor patents

A new Semiconductor Technology Pilot Program at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) aims to accelerate the examination of patent applications related to semiconductor technology.

At Stanzione & Associates PLLC, we can help you navigate both this new program and the conventional application process. 

The patent application process

  1. Preliminary search: Before applying, search the USPTO’s database and other patent databases to ensure your invention is unique.
  2. Prepare your application: A semiconductor patent application must include:
    1. A detailed description of the invention
    2. Claims—to define the scope of the patent protection
    3. Drawings (if applicable)
    4. An abstract 
  3. Examination process: After submission, a USPTO examiner will review your application to assess whether it meets the necessary criteria—scrutinizing the invention’s novelty, utility, and non-obviousness. You may need to respond to the examiner’s inquiries or objections to advance your application.
  4. Issue and maintenance: Once your patent is granted, it’s imperative to maintain it by paying the required fees at designated intervals. 

A semiconductor patent, like other utility patents in the United States, generally lasts for 20 years from the filing date, subject to maintenance fees.

Stanzione & Associates, PLLC, for semiconductor patent protection

Navigating the complexities of patent law in the context of semiconductor design requires a blend of technical knowledge and legal acumen. 

Those who understand the steps involved in securing a semiconductor patent and what it protects against can better safeguard their innovations for businesses and inventors. 

Your hard work deserved an equal amount of protection. Whether you’re at the forefront of semiconductor innovation or integrating these technologies into new products, a robust patent strategy is indispensable.

Connect to Stanzione & Associates, PLLC, for a free consultation about how to secure your semiconductor future with patent protection.

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