US claims record patent numbers in 2010, IBM leads

Patents awarded by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rose by 31 percent in 2010, the largest increase on record, with IBM continuing to hold onto its position at the top for the 18th year running.

According to figures published by IFI Claims, a producer of US patent databases and indexing services, the USPTO issued a record 219,614 utility patents last year with IBM accounting for 5,896, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year, and the highest ever recorded by one firm.

Samsung came in at second with 4,551, up 26 percent, while Microsoft saw an increase 6.5 percent to 3,094.

In fact all of the top fifty firms showed an increase apart from one, with most seeing increases in the double digits and many breaking records.

In terms of increase from the previous year it was Apple which stood out most with an increase of 94 percent.  Meanwhile Qualcomm (84 percent), NEC (74 percent), and SAP (70 percent), also saw significant gains.

“The tremendous increase in patent issues in 2010 suggests that so far the economy doesn’t appear to have slowed patent flow significantly in the US,” said Darlene Slaughter, general manager of IFI Claims Patent Services.  “Another important factor is the stepped up effort of the USPTO to improve turnaround times and its five-year strategic plan to increase efficiencies and reduce pendency.  The bottom line:  there is still a backlog of patents pending but the number of grants continues to grow even after a period of economic downturn.”

The results also showed that US firms had recaptured their lead which had been lost to foreign firms over the previous two years.  US assignees accounted for 50.3 percent of patent grants in 2010, with the rest going to foreign firms, as compared to less than 49 percent last year.

The US 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, with Taiwan in fifth (3.8%).

Broken down by market, the highest new patent activity included multiplex communications at 3.3 percent of the total. Solid-state devices and transistors were at 3.1 percent, while semiconductors accounted for 2.7 percent.

Computers and processing systems and biotechnology both accounted for two percent. 

1

International Business Machines Corp

5896

2

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (Korea)

4551

3

Microsoft Corp

3094

4

Canon K K (Japan)

2552

5

Panasonic Corp (Japan)

2482

6

Toshiba Corp (Japan)

2246

7

Sony Corp (Japan)

2150

8

Intel Corp

1653

9

LG Electronics Inc (Korea)

1490

10

Hewlett-Packard Development Co L P

1480

11

Hitachi Ltd (Japan)

1460

12

Seiko Epson Corp (Japan)

1443

13

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Taiwan)

1438

14

Fujitsu Ltd (Japan)

1296

15

General Electric Co

1225

16

Ricoh Co Ltd (Japan)

1200

17

Cisco Technology Inc

1115

18

Honda Motor Co Ltd (Japan)

1050

19

Fujifilm Corp (Japan)

1041

20

Hynix Semiconductor Inc (Japan)

973

21

Broadcom Corp

958

22

GM Global Technology Operations Inc

942

23

Micron Technology Inc

917

24

Siemens AG (Germany)

873

25

Xerox Corp

858

26

Denso Corp (Japan)

853

27

Texas Instruments Inc

829

28

Honeywell International Inc

824

29

Sharp K K (Japan)

818

30

Toyota Jidosha K K (Japan)

802

31

Infineon Technologies AG (Germany)

774

32

Brother Kogyo K K (Germany)

771

33

Nokia AB Oy (Finland)

760

34

Silverbrook Research Pty Ltd (Australia)

752

35

LG Display Co Ltd (Korea)

738

36

Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co Ltd (Japan)

734

37

Mitsubishi Denki K K (Japan)

700

38

Koninklijke Philips Electronics N V (Netherlands)

685

39

NEC Corp (Japan)

680

40

Boeing Co

662

41

Qualcomm Inc

657

42

SAP AG (Germany)

649

43

Oracle America Inc/Sun Microsystems Inc*

646

44

Bosch, Robert GmbH (Germany)

593

45

Fuji Xerox Co Ltd (Japan)

574

46

Apple Inc

563

47

Du Pont de Nemours, E I & Co

509

48

Sanyo Electric Co Ltd (Japan)

504

49

3M Innovative Properties Co

496

50

Freescale Semiconductor Inc

494