Intellectual property is the lifeblood of NXP and patents are the hard-earned proof of our industry leadership in innovation. Patents protect our inventions, enhance our competitive position and freedom to operate and provide a source of direct revenue generation. But obtaining a patent is a significant investment, costing up to $25,000 USD per country, so we have to weigh up the potential for return on that investment before any application goes ahead.
A patent starts life as an “Invention Disclosure” (ID), a description of a new and potentially patentable solution or discovery by the NXP inventor community. The NXP IP Group then decides whether the ID meets the strict criteria for patentability—is it novel? Non-obvious? Additionally, the invention must also be broad enough to be commercially valuable for NXP. If these and other technical criteria are met, the IP Group prepares the patent application and sends it to the appropriate patent office, such as the European Patent Office (EPO), for examination.
The EPO is an independent body that processes patent applications from across the world, on behalf of 38 member states including all EU member states and countries including Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Last year it processed a record 174,317 patent applications and thanks to our inventors, NXP was among the top 100.
With the work of our inventors and the support of the IP Group, we continue to build on our reputation as an innovative front-runner, making NXP a more attractive partner, supplier and employer. Back in February, NXP was recognized as a Top 100 Global Innovator for the third consecutive year. This recognition of our reputation as a leading innovator is reinforced by the EPO Top 100 ranking and relies on the work of our R&D teams and engineers who search for new and unique solutions in the world of semiconductors.