Ken; Weng-Dah (Hsinchu, TW)
1. Field of the Invention
The invention described hereinafter relates to a semiconductor multiproduct (MP) wafer processing. It is a multi-project, multi-product manufacturing process of semiconductor wafers.
2. Description of Related Art
The NRE of new wafers and mask sets required to make semiconductor devices has grown in complexity, cost and size as semiconductor technology gets more complex. The financial hurdles to design and development of semiconductor IP/Libs, IC prototyping, and small-volume production are prohibitive for fabless IC firms. This is particularly relevant to the next generation of nanometer (nm) technology. One way to reduce NRE costs provided by semiconductor foundry suppliers is to provide multi-project wafers that include a mask-shuttle. With a mask-shuttle multi-project service, the foundry provider can spread the initial NRE cost over many customers without fabs, based on number of shuttle seats they require for IC design prototyping for design prototyping purposes.
IC designs and IP/Lib (macro function units) are sent to a mask-shuttle to verify. This is done using open (i.e. non-proprietary) IP/Library or vendor-specific IP/Library. IC designs are combined into a common maskset , and in a prototyping wafer lot. The semiconductor wafers go through the foundry for semiconductors. The chips, whether packaged or unpackaged, are then returned to foundry’s customers and customers who have supplied their IP/Lib designs or IC functional units to produce the multi-project wafer.
The semiconductor IC industry has seen rapid growth for decades. Technological advances in IC materials, processes and design have resulted in new generations of ICs with each generation having less complex and smaller circuits than the previousgeneration. But, these advancements have increased the complexity of making and processing ICs. The IC sector is maturing, but the different operations necessary to fabricate an IC are performed in different places by different companies or by different companies that specialize in a specific area. For instance, IC foundry processes that utilize a mask shuttle to produce multi-project wafers could be employed by multiple customers.
FIG. FIG. 8 shows an example of a multi-project wafer set which contains several process nodes. The mask set 800 comprises a first layer mask 802, a second layer mask 804, a third layer layer mask 806 and a fifth layer mask 812, a sixth layer mask 814, and a eighth layer mask 820 that comprise a multiple technology node mask (MTM). The mask set 800 also includes a fourth layer mask 808 and 810, as well as a seventh layer mask 816 and 818. The masks 802, 804, 806 eight12, 814, and 820 are single technologynode masks (STM). The mask set MTMs (808 816) and (810, 812) each have a distinct first and a second pattern, each associated with each technology node (for instance 65 nm, 90 nm technology nodes). Fourth layer mask mask 808 as well as the 7th layer mask mask 816 are both STMs. They have the pattern that is first (e.g. 65 nm technology Node ). the fourth layer mask 808, and the seventh layer mask mask 816 are both STMs. They include the first pattern (e.g. 90 nm technology node). The mask set 800 can be utilized to create a device incorporating the first pattern and a device including the second pattern.Click here to view the patent on USPTO website.
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A patent is granted by the government in order to protect the invention. It grants the inventor the sole right to develop, utilize and market the idea. Society is benefited when technology that is new is brought for sale. Benefits can be realized in the direct sense, since it can allow people to accomplish previously unattainable things. Or indirectly, due to the opportunities for economic growth (business expansion and job creation) that the innovation offers.
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Patents transform inventors’ knowledge into a commercially tradeable asset that opens up new possibilities to create jobs and boost business growth through joint ventures or licensing.
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Patents can result in new inventions and ideas. The information you create may be eligible for patent protection.
Patents can be used to prevent untrustworthy third-party companies from earning from the invention’s efforts.
Patent-protected technology revenue that is commercially viable can be used to finance technological research and development (R&D), which can increase the chance for better technology in the future.
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Start-ups require a well-constructed business plan that is built on the IP to show that your product or service is distinctive, superior, or innovative. Investors will also be amazed if your IP rights are secure or in the process to becoming secure, and that they agree with your business plan.
It is vital to keep an invention secret prior to filing for patent protection. The public disclosure of an invention before it is filed can typically degrade the novelty of an invention and make it ineligible for patent protection. Thus, disclosures that are filed prior to filing (e.g., for test-marketing investors, test-marketing, or any other business partners) must only be done following the signing of a confidentiality agreement.
There are many types of patents. Understanding them is crucial for protecting your invention. Patents for utility are used to protect inventions and processes that are new. Design patents cover ornamental designs. Patents for utility are the best option and protect the owner against copycats and competitors. In most cases the utility patent is issued for improvements or modifications to existing inventions. They can also be used to improve or alter existing inventions. For instance, a process patent will be able to cover actions or methods for performing a specific act, whereas chemical compositions are an assortment of ingredients.
What is the length average of a patent? While utility patents are valid for 20 years from the date of their initial filing, they may be extended by delay at the patent office.
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When you’re writing your patent application, you should do a patent search. the search will give you an insight into the other applicants’ concepts. This will allow you to restrict the scope of your idea. You can also find out about the technological advancements in the field you’re inventing. You’ll have a better idea of what your invention ought to be and be better prepared to write the patent application.
How to Search for Patents
The first step in getting your patent is to do the patent search. You can do a google patent search or do a USPTO search. Once the patent application is filed, the item covered by the application can be referred to as patent-pending and you will be able to locate the patent application on a public pair. After the patent office approves your application, you’ll be able to do an examination of the patent number to locate the patent issued. Your product is now patent-able. In addition to the USPTO search engine, you can use other search engines, such as espacenet, which is described below. You can get help from an attorney for patents. In the US, patents are issued by the US trademark and patent office, also known as the United States patent and trademark office, which is also responsible for examining trademark applications.
Are you looking for similar patents? These are the steps to follow:
1. Brainstorm terms to describe your invention according to its function or composition.
Write down a brief, but precise description of the invention. Be sure to avoid using terms that are generic such as “device,” “process,” and “system.” Instead, consider synonyms to the terms you chose initially. Also, make note of key technical terms as well as keywords.
To help you find keywords and concepts, use the following questions.
- What is the objective of the invention? Is it a utilitarian device or an ornamental design?
- Is inventing a method to come up with something or to perform some function? Or is it a product or procedure?
- What is the structure of the invention? What is the physical makeup of the invention?
- What’s the point of this invention?
- What are the technical terms and keywords that describe the nature of an invention? To find the right terms, refer to the technical dictionary.
2. These terms allow you to find pertinent Cooperative Patent Classifications using the Classification Search Tool. To find the most appropriate classification to your invention, look through the class scheme of the classification (class schedules). If you do not get results from the Classification Text Search, you might consider substituting your words for describing your invention with synonyms.
3. Examine 3. Check the CPC Classification Definition to confirm the validity of the CPC classification you have found. The hyperlink to a CPC classification definition is provided if the chosen classification title is a blue square with a “D” on the left. CPC classification definitions will help identify the specific classification’s scope and therefore you’re sure to select the most pertinent. Furthermore the definitions may include search tips and other suggestions which could be helpful for further research.
4. Get patent documents using the CPC classification from the Patents Full-Text and Image Database. You can look through and narrow down the relevant patent publications by focusing first on the abstract and drawings representative of.
5. This selection of patent publications is the best to look at for any similarities to your invention. Pay attention to the claims and specification. There are many patents available by referring to the patent examiner as well as the applicant.
6. You can find published patent applications that match the CPC classification you picked in Step 3. You can use the same strategy of searching in Step 4 to narrow your results to the relevant patent application through the abstract as well as the drawings that appear on each page. The next step is to review all published patent applications carefully with particular attention paid to the claims and other drawings.
7. Find other US patents by keyword searching in PatFT or AppFT databases, classification searching of non-U.S. patents as described below, and searching non-patent publications of inventions with web search engines. Here are some examples:
- Add keywords to your search. Keyword searches may turn up documents that are not well-categorized or have missed classifications during Step 2. For example, US patent examiners often supplement their classification searches with keyword searches. Think about the use of technical engineering terminology rather than everyday words.
- Search for foreign patents using the CPC classification. Then, re-run the search using international patent office search engines such as Espacenet, the European Patent Office’s worldwide patent publication database of over 130 million patent publications. Other national databases include:
- European Patent Office (EPO) provides esp@cenet to access a network of Europe’s patent databases with access to machine translation of European patents.
- Japan Patent Office (JPO) – with access to machine translations of Japanese patents.
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) offers PATENTSCOPE with a full-text search of published international patent applications and machine translations for some documents, as well as a list of international patent databases.
- Korean Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS)
- State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) with machine translation of Chinese patents.
- Other International Intellectual Property Offices with online patent databases include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
- Search non-patent literature. Inventions can be made public in many non-patent publications. It is recommended that you search journals, books, websites, technical catalogs, conference proceedings, and other print and electronic publications.
To review your search, you can hire a registered patent attorney to assist. A preliminary search will help one better prepare to talk about their invention and other related inventions with a professional patent attorney. In addition, the attorney will not spend too much time or money on patenting basics.