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Texas Instruments Innovation Analysis Report

Patents, Products & R&D Trends

 

As part of our ongoing efforts to assist clients involved in cross licensing discussions with Texas Instruments (TI), TechPats recently completed an analysis of TI’s patenting activity over the last 10 years, along with a summary of their current product focus. While this material has been prepared based on an analysis of Texas Instruments’ patents and technology trends, the methodology used can be applied to any other prospective licensee or adversary, yielding actionable data that can be used to develop strategic engagement plans.

Our analysis provides insights into the innovation strategies of a company by analyzing and correlating 10-year trends from three related data sources, all based on publicly available information:

  • Filings of granted patents and pending application in each selected technology area
  • Company financial data, product releases and the announcements of R&D priorities
  • Publications in IEEE accredited journal and conferences

For companies preparing for licensing negotiations with TI, this report can be an important component of their strategy, helping them to better understand their position relative to TI’s patent portfolio, and providing valuable insight into areas where TI may be vulnerable to counter claims or assertions. These insights are also of value to companies that may be a few years from upcoming licensing discussions with TI. Understanding TI’s patenting trends and product focus enables companies to begin preparations now that will yield significantly better results in future negotiations.

As part of our ten-year TI innovation trend analysis, TechPats identified over 6,000 granted (as of September 20, 20017) US patents with application dates after Jan 01, 2007, and over 1700 pending applications.

 

Report Summary

TI’s overall innovation effort, measured in the number of granted patents and applications filed in each year between 2007 and 2014, appears to be steady. The total number of granted patents averages in the range of 500-550 annually, and TI files an average of 460-480 new patent applications a year. What appears to be a decrease in granted patents for some technology areas in 2015 is likely due to the fact that some of the patents with this application year are still undergoing patent office examinations.

Figure 1

Our research shows that 80% of granted patents and 75% of TI’s pending US applications are in the 14 International Patent Code (IPC) subclasses shown in Figures 2 and 3 below.

The top 3 technology groups where TI has the largest granted patent portfolios include:

  • IC manufacturing processes and packaging (H01L)
  • IC testing (G01R)
  • Processors, Data Processing IC CAD (G06F)

These three technology groups account for 45% of Texas Instruments’ granted patents. They are mature legacy technology areas for TI, with steady innovation trends between 2007 and 2014.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Descriptive keywords for each subclass represent the technologies covered by the largest number of patents in a given subclass.

H01L: IC manufacturing, process/package
G01R: IC testing
G06F: IC Computer Aided Design (CAD)
H04B: Radio TX/RX circuits
H03M: DAC, ADC
H03K: Latch and flip-flop circuits
H04L: Data networks systems, TX/RX circuits
G11C: Memory (SRAM, FRAM, EPROM)
G05F: Voltage regulators, power supply
H04N: Video, image processing
H03F: Amplifiers
H02M: DC/DC power
H04W: wireless systems, protocols
H03L: Oscillators, PLL
G01S: Location detection, radio navigation
G06T: Image data processing or generation

The comparison of granted patents and pending patent applications at the IPC Subgroup level reveal that while TI continues to file a large number of applications in the legacy technology areas, certain technology areas have become relatively more active, such as video and image processing (H04N), radar and positioning systems (G01S) and Image data processing or generation (G06T). These technology areas also have the lowest pending applications abandonment rate, which could be an indication that TI has just started to build patent portfolios in these areas.

Each of the main technology areas are further analyzed in detail, specific technology innovation focuses are determined, and notable trends are summarized as illustrated in the examples below.

Example: Analysis of Voltage Regulator Power Supply Innovation Trends – DC/DC Technology

Figure 4

Figure 5

In general, TI continues to invest significantly in their legacy technologies, and does not appear to have made significant shifts in R&D and innovation in the past 10 years. That said, closer examination of TI’s patenting activity does reveal some shifts in focus, and the emergence of new innovation areas that are consistent with their product strategies. For example, strategies announced in recent years include increased focus in two major applications areas:

The automotive industry, in particular:

  • Sensing technologies
  • ADAS (Radar, LIDAR, HD cameras)
  • Infotainment, new user interfaces (smart touch)

The Industrial IoT, in particular:

  • Wireless short range technologies, ultra-low power
  • Power Line Communications (PLC), low power and low latency IP/Ethernet networks
  • Low power sensor devices
  • Smart power, high voltage and high power density solutions for server farms

Our analysis of TI’s patenting activity provides insight into where they are allocating resources and
concentrating their efforts. To better illustrate their strategy, our report groups the results into the
following categories:

  1. Legacy technology areas where TI appears to be refocusing innovation and R&D
  2. New technology areas where TI appears to be increasing innovation and R&D
  3. Legacy technology areas where TI appears to be decreasing innovation and R&D
  4. Legacy technology areas where TI appears to be maintaining steady innovation and R&D

Each category includes the following information:

  • Characterization of the R&D trends and new products introduced
  • Granted patents and pending application data including 10 year trend
  • Summary of the IEEE publications related to this technology

Examples of the type of information included in the report are shown below:

Example: New technology areas where TI appears to be increasing innovation and R&D effort, Transmission PLC, NFC, and Diversity Systems:

Figure 6

Example: technology areas where TI appears to be reducing innovation and R&D effort, General Process and Packaging:

Figure 7

Contents of the Report

TI financial data analysis , R&D trends and product strategies

Report pages 1-10 Excel spreadsheet of products released since 2007

  • Revenues, R&D spending and profitability trend between 2007 and 2017
  • Product segments financial performance summary for 2016
  • End markets contributions to TI sales in 2016 and product analysis: Automotive Market, IIoT
  • Product releases per product segment and end market between 2007 and 2017
  • Key technology innovation areas : smart power management, sensing technologies, wireless technologies

Patent and application trends for top technology areas

Report pages 11-54 Excel spreadsheet containing granted patents and pending applications

Innovation trends

Report pages 55-84

Excel spreadsheet containing 1000+ IEEE publications records including keyword analysis

  • Legacy technology areas where TI appears to be refocusing innovation and R&D
  • New technology areas where TI appears to be increasing innovation and R&D
  • Legacy technology areas where TI appears to be decreasing innovation and R&D
  • Legacy technology areas where TI appears to be maintaining steady innovation and R&D

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Should you require an Innovation Report drafted for litigation, licensing, cross-licensing, or acquisition, please e-mail info@techpats.com.