With the tech landscape as competitive as ever, companies are increasingly resorting to litigation to protect their business and ward of competitive threats. In doing so, having a strong patent portfolio is essential. Indeed, it’s widely believed that Apple specifically went after HTC is because their patent portfolio is noticeably thin. Moreover, Oracle’s current patent infringement lawsuit against Google highlights the need for a strong reservoir of patents.
A few weeks ago, IFI Claims Patent Services used proprietary algorithms to scour U.S. Patent and Trademark Office databases to see which companies were most active patent-wise in 2010.
Quite impressively, IBM tops the list of companies with the most issued patents in 2010 with an astonishing 5,896 patents. Remarkably, IBM has been the #1 patent producing company for 18 years running. Following IBM is Samsung who amassed 4,551 patens with Microsoft occupying the third slot with 3,094 patents.
In 2010, American-headquartered companies collectively recaptured a lead on the total number of U.S. patent grants after losing out slightly to foreign companies for the previous two years. U.S. assignees captured 50.3 percent of all U.S. utility patents in 2010 with the balance going to foreign assignees. In 2009, American firms received less than a majority at 49 percent.
The U.S. received more than twice as many corporate patents than Japan (21.3%), the country with the second most U.S. patents issued in 2010. South Korea (5.4%) remained in third place; Germany (5.2%) in fourth; and Taiwan in fifth (3.8%).
And though Apple came in 46th on the list with 563 patents to their credit, their patent throughput continues to increase, with 2010 seeing the Cupertino-based company amass 94% more patents than they did in 2009.
The top 10 patent patent assignees in 2010 is as follows.
As a point of interest, Google didn’t even crack the top 50