Intellectual Property Management
Intellectual Property Management Plan and Implementation
Intellectual Property Management Policy and Goals
To remain a world-leading technology provider, ASE shall continuously focus on research, development and innovation; formulate an intellectual property (“IP”) strategy in alignment with its operation and R&D strategies; establish a set of operating model which can effectively utilize the IP rights ASE owns to promote various business interests, so as to not only appropriately protect R&D results and enhance the company's competitiveness, but also to ensure the freedom of operation of ASE and maximize shareholder benefits.
Intellectual Property Management System
To ensure the effective implementation of ASE’s IP policy and goals, the company and its subsidiaries draws up innovative programs in accordance with its business blueprint and prevailing laws and regulations, as well as continuously strengthen its IP management system. ASE’s comprehensive IP management ensures that the company’s R&D efforts and results are well protected and developed into IP rights. The company continues to integrate and utilize its high value IP portfolio to promote various business interests that further improve its competitiveness and strengthen its defense capabilities.
ASE’s IP management strategy is focused on three equally weighted goals - patent quantity, patent quality and patent value. In addition to early deployment of IP management for critical technologies, ASE continuously examines the quality and valuation of its patents through innovative ways to maintain a strong patent portfolio. These actions enable ASE to maintain high patent standards and maximize R&D investment returns by strengthening the use of value-added patent rights. ASE also actively collaborates with the industry’s technology leaders to jointly develop patents, file patent applications and obtain key licensing agreements. These actions enable ASE to defend its leadership position in technology as well as maintain its overall competitiveness.
B. Trade Secret
ASE’s trade secrets are based on a strong foundation of corporate competitiveness that include cost advantages, technology leadership, quality manufacturing service, and the establishment of smart factories and customer trust. ASE adopts secrecy policy and management measures in accordance with laws and regulations on trade secret protection, puts in place a system of measures including information security systems, employee education and on-the-job training, and systematic management, and takes management-oriented approaches to continuously implement and improve those measures, effectively protecting ASE’s trade secret. Where it is necessary, ASE will timely enforce applicable laws and regulations on trade secret to prevent improper use, leakage or misappropriation of ASE’s proprietary assets by others in order to ensure that ASE’s investments, rights and interests are duly protected.
ASE has registered several trademarks to distinguish the exclusive products and services of ASE from the similar products/services of others. The granted trademarks highlight the quality and uniqueness of ASE’s products and services, and help to effectively market the ASE brand name. ASE may claim its legitimate trademark rights against any other similar marks that are improperly used to cause confusion to customers or consumers, so as to protect ASE’s goodwill and market share.
Main uses of intellectual property and contribution to operations
ASE's IP management is tightly embedded into the company’s business operation blueprint, forming a continuous innovation cycle that encompasses business opportunities and R&D, to IP management and utilization that includes the following three phases:
- To maintain ASE’s technology leadership and to better respond to future market needs, the company invests aggressively in research and development, aligns R&D with key future business opportunities and invests heavily in talent development and R&D resources.
- Our robust IP application system and tools ensure that R&D achievements are transformed accurately, thoroughly and effectively into legally protected intellectual property rights. To ensure comprehensive protection for key technologies and strengthen patent quality, ASE adopts a 3-pronged approach: developing a comprehensive portfolio, re-assessing patents to identify those of value and, revitalization to increase the value. Patents must also provide business value in order to maximize R&D investment returns. ASE puts in place a system of measures to protect the company’s trade secrets and maintain its unique competitive advantage, including information security systems, employee awareness training and education and systematic management. Where appropriate, the company will enforce applicable laws and regulations to prevent improper use, leakage or misappropriation of the company’s intangible assets by others to ensure that ASE’s investments, rights and interests are duly protected. In terms of trademarks, the unique and identifiable trademarks are registered to manifest the quality and characteristics of products and services. In case of other’s imitation or trade on the recognition of ASE trademark, or causing confusion of customers and consumers, ASE may invoke trademark rights to defend goodwill or secure the market share.
- High-value IP helps to facilitate business success, obtain customer orders and develop more business opportunities, thereby creating a positive sustainable cycle. Our robust IP management prevents unauthorized use of ASE's technologies by others and helps to defend against any threats from competitors.
IP Risk Management
ASE’s success is driven by its continuous quest for innovation and the strengthening of its IP management. To protect its proprietary technologies, trade secrets and patents from theft, misappropriation or infringement, ASE has strengthened employees’ IP awareness as well as ensured the inclusion of IP protection measures at work. In addition to regular IP related online and classroom courses, various types of exercises are also conducted to enhance employees’ knowledge and skills on IP protection. ASE has established stringent controls in its IT and email systems, and within its facilities, to strengthen security management and mitigate the risk of information leakage. In case of any risk exposures in IP misappropriation or infringement, ASE has in place a robust response mechanism and standard operating procedure to promptly investigate and where appropriate, enforce legal actions to prevent IP misappropriation or infringement by others, so as to protect the ASE’s IP rights.
ASE respects the legitimate IP rights of others. However, to the extent that the technology is developed independently by ASE or that ASE does not have prior knowledge, it may be uncertain as to whether there may be any potential conflict with others’ IP. To a certain extent, ASE may consider to rely on third party technology and patent licenses. If the technology license cannot be granted due to unacceptable terms and conditions, ASE may be exposed to third party claims for infringement, damages incurred, or the risk of an injunction order. ASE may also face customer requests and claims for contractual obligations to indemnify for the damages suffered by the customer due to third-party claim for infringement. Therefore, ASE will strategically obtain the necessary licenses for specific technologies, and at the same time, collects high-quality patents that could be utilized for defense against litigation or cross-licensing, so as to ensure the freedom of operation.
ASE’s patent portfolios comprise a variety of technologies related to semiconductor packaging and testing, and electronics manufacturing. As of January 31, 2023, we held 2,284 Taiwan patents, 1,914 U.S. patents, 1,858 P.R.C., patents, 13 Europe patents and 30 patents in other countries related to various semiconductor packaging technologies and invention utility and design on our EMS. In addition, as of January 31,2023, we also had has a total of 1,864 pending patent applications, of which 178 in Taiwan, 515 in the U.S., 1,153 in P.R.C., 13 in Europe and 5 in other countries.
ASE has applied and registered several trademarks in Taiwan, the United States, China and the EU. The following trademarks are registered in Taiwan. This is a non-exclusive list of ASE’s trademarks and any name, service mark or logo that has been used for or incorporated into ASE’s services but not specified in the foregoing list shall not constitute a waiver of ASE’s trademark or other intellectual property rights over that name or logo.
ASE will continue to strengthen trademark management, enhance management mechanisms at all stages of trademark acquisition, protection, maintenance, and use, and improve management specifications and processes that effectively secure trademark rights and avoid trademark-related risks, so as to effectively secure company's trademark rights and defend the company's goodwill.
In terms of trade secrets management, ASE carries out annual on-line training for all employees, continues to direct them to secure confidential information and foster subject-specific course and propaganda of non-infringement of IP for R&D departments, enhancing protection of ASE’s trade secret and preventing the risk of infringement. ASE implements an interview mechanism in the employee resignation process for Legal department to interview with employee who will resign and alert such employee to continue to fulfill confidentiality obligations after the resignation, reducing the risks of information leakage. ASE and its affiliates collaborate to develop group corporate strategy for protecting critical technologies that effect industry leadership and adopt unified management guidance to continue to maintain ASE’s competitiveness and protect the best interests of shareholder. In order to improve business secret management, ASE promotes the establishment of a business secret registration and management system, coupled with a complete confidentiality policy, to comprehensively protect the company's core competitive advantages.
At least once a year, the foregoing IP management plan and implementation status are reported to the Board of Directors and the improvement measures are proposed in response to the Board’s recommendations. The last reporting date was October 12, 2023.
On November 4, 2022, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc., a subsidiary of ASE, filed an application for the renewal of Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System (TIPS) (A Class) certification re-certificated. The renewal of TIPS certification (A Class) was valid for another 2-year-term until December 31, 2024.