2013 U.S. Patent Trends & Insights

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MADISON, Conn., Jan. 14, 2014 — IFI CLAIMS® Patent Services, the leading producer of global patent databases, analytic solutions and innovative web services, has compiled the following facts from its analysis of calendar year 2013 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) data.
  • The USPTO issued a record 277,835 utility patents in 2013, an increase of approximately 10 percent over 2012 and the most issued in a single year 
  • The total number of assignees also increased this year by more than 4,000
  • 18 U.S. firms made the Top 50, up from 17 in 2012 and 2011
  • 37 companies in the Top 50 saw an increase in patent production over last year as compared to 41 in 2012. Half of those saw double-digit or better growth.  
  • Of the nearly 60,000 assignees, 640 grew by more than 50 and only 62 grew by more than 500 patents, which together represents 40 percent of all new patents. The remaining 60 percent came from the smaller portfolios. 
  • IBM is at the top of the list again with a record-setting 6,809 patents, up 5%, continuing a dominance that has lasted 21 straight years 
  • Qualcomm, up 62% over 2012, debuts in the Top 10 at #9 
  • Microsoft moves up to #5 from #6 in 2012  
Notable Trends
Google and Apple continue to move up the rankings.  Both companies break into the Top 20 for the first time, with Google beating Apple for the second year in a row.  Google moves up from #21 in 2012 (its Top 50 debut) to #11 in 2013.  Apple moves up from #22 to #13.  Microsoft (MSFT) moves up from its 2012 #6 position to #5, showing that it remains a patenting powerhouse. 
Qualcomm (QCOM) moves up sharply.  The San Diego-based digital communications company moved up from #17 in 2012 to #9. 
BlackBerry (BBRY) changes name and moves up again.  BlackBerry
increases patent production by 35 percent jumping 9 places to #20, from #29 when it was Research in Motion.  Another electronics company making a big positive move is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSM) moving up 13 places to #35.
Covidien LP breaks out.  Massachusetts-based medical equipment maker Covidien LP (COV) breaks into the Top 50 at #46 with 743 U.S. granted patents in 2013.  What makes this extraordinary is that Covidien only had 57 U.S. grants in 2012 and ranked #509.  This remarkable jump is due in large part to the slow process of patent reassignment.  Covidien was spun out of Tyco International in 2007.  A large backlog of patent applications were filed under the name “Tyco Healthcare Group” – this continued through 2011.  These applications and their associated granted equivalents have been reassigned to “Covidien LP”.  These reassignments result in a large jump for Covidien, and the disappearance of Tyco Healthcare, which ranked #64 in 2012. 
Changes among network equipment manufacturers.  Cisco (CSCO) dropped 9 places from #31 in 2012 to #40 in 2013.  Its patent grants declined by 7 percent.  China’s Huawei Technology is ranked #51 in 2013 moving up from #55 in 2012.  Huawei’s patent grants increased by 28 percent and are likely to break into the Top 50 in 2014.  Sweden’s Ericsson (ERIC) moved up 12 places to #23.  Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) drops out of the Top 50 from #49 in 2012 to #54.
Where are the chemical and pharmaceutical companies?  Continuing a long-term trend, there are no large chemical or pharmaceutical companies in the 2013 Top 50.  A decade ago, companies like BASF (#56 in 2013), DuPont (#63) and Dow Chemical (#115) were regulars in the Top 50. 
Exceptional Gainers in Top 50
  • Covidien, +1203%
  • Samsung Display, +433%
  • Qualcomm, +62%
  • Google, +60%
  • Apple, +56%
  • Taiwan Semiconductor, +44%
  • Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, +37%
  • Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, +36%
  • BlackBerry (Previously RIM), +35%
  • Bosch, 26%
New to the Top 50
  • Covidien, #46 from #509
  • Samsung Display, #22 from #123
  • Ford Global Technologies, #50 from #51
Notable Drops
  • General Electric, with only a 5 percent drop in grants, went from #9 to #14
  • Alcatel-Lucent, Honeywell and LG Display all drop below the Top 50
  • Hitachi drops 13 slots; Cisco 9 and Renesas and Fujifilm both drop 15 slots
IFI’s Top 50 Patent Assignees is viewable on the company’s website at www.ificlaims.com.  Access to the Top 1,000 Ranking is also available now with no fee to anyone who registers on the company’s website.  The company’s full analysis comprises patent data on more than 7,000 companies and organizations.
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About IFI CLAIMS Patent Services/Fairview Research
IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, a division of Fairview Research, is the preeminent producer of value-added patent databases, the innovative CLAIMS DIRECT web service, and provider of the KMX Patent Analytics solution. From the most rigorous U.S. assignee name standardization process in the industry, to continual class code updates, and comprehensive indexing for chemical patents — IFI has built a solid reputation as a leader in patent databases. Fairview Research (Madison, Conn., and Barcelona, Spain) is a provider of data-enrichment technology and services for information retrieval and analysis. Founded in 2006, the company is skilled at making large-scale scientific and technical databases more searchable and helping to lower the cost of specialized research. For more information, visit www.ificlaims.com.