2014 U.S. Patent Trends & Insights

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Contact: Tom Kivett
Kivett & Company Communications
(212) 727-2935

2014 U.S. Patent Trends & Insights
MADISON, Conn., Jan. 12, 2015 — 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 2014 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) data.
Notable Trends
  • The USPTO issued a record 300,678* utility patents in 2014, the most issued in a single year
  • Growth in U.S. patent grants has slowed year-over-year from 12.8% in 2012, 9.7% in 2013, to 8.2% in 2014
  • Whereas the number of patent assignees with 2014 grants has increased, the number of new assignees as a percentage of all assignees continues to decline. New assignees accounted for roughly 9% of new patent grants down from 9.5% in 2013 and 10.4% in 2012.
  • Foreign holdings of U.S. grants declined slightly to 49.1% down from 49.4% in 2013 and with little change in the last 5 years
  • Japanese holdings of U.S. grants continue to decline with 18.1% in 2014 down roughly 2.5% over the past 5 years. Chinese holdings have doubled over the same period of time, however they still only account for 2% of all 2014 grants.
  • The U.S. has more firms in the 2014 IFI CLAIMS Top 50 than any other single country with 19, up from 18 in 2013 and 17 in 2012 and 2011. Japan is second with 18 firms.
  • 42 companies in the Top 50 saw an increase in patent production over last year as compared to 37 in 2013. 24 companies saw double-digit or better percentage rate growth
  • The Top 50 generated 82,092 patents – approximately 27% of the total
Company Factoids
  • IBM is at the top of the list again with a record-setting 7,534 patents, a dramatic increase of more than 10% over 2013 — continuing a dominance that has lasted 22 straight years and breaking the 7,000 barrier for first time
  • Google broke into the Top 10 in 2014 (at #8 up from #11) and Apple was #11 – up from #13 in 2013. Combined, Google and Apple were granted 943 more utility patents in 2014 than they collectively received in 2013 (26% increase).
  • Qualcomm increased its patent counts by 23% capturing the #7 position up from #9 in 2013. Microsoft held its #5 position.
  • Amazon Technologies makes its debut in the Top 50 at #50 up from #59; China’s Huawei Technologies breaks into the Top 50 at #48 up from #53; and Honeywell International, returns to the list at #49 up from #52
  • The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSM) rose from #35 to #23, a significant increase of 519 utility grants (+55%)
  • Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. fell from #8 to #18. Japan’s Hitachi fell from #26 to #38, the two biggest position-drops in the Top 50. 
  • Just below the Top 50, China’s ZTE moved from #133 to #51 with a significant 706 utility grants in 2014 – an increase of 160% over 2013
  • Korea’s Samsung, LG, and SK Hynix held their strong positions with net gains, but with little movement in their rankings
  • Australia’s Silverbrook Research has traditionally been a strong patent producer, however, in 2014 it received only 18 U.S. utility grants, down from 246 in 2013, and from 812 in 2011
Exceptional Gainers Below the Top 50
  • Japan Display Inc., +1525%
  • Shenzhen China Star Optoelectronics, +331%
  • ZTE Corp., 160%
  • Wistron Corp., +131%
  • Facebook Inc., +120%
  • Toshiba Tec KK, +83%
  • Kyocera Document Solutions, +72%
  • EMC Corp., +62%
Notable Drops
  • Renesas Electronics fell from #46 to #64 with a drop of 277 utility grants (-32%)
  • Covidien fell from #47 to #57. Covidien was one of 2013’s biggest gainers.
One of the oldest and most trusted patent analysis firms in the U.S., IFI CLAIMS is known throughout the world as the gold standard tabulator of U.S. utility patents.  Using proprietary algorithms and more than 60 years' experience, many clients turn to IFI to assist with tracking “total portfolio ownership.”  The company’s full analysis comprises patent data on more than 7,000 companies and organizations.  For more information visit www.ificlaims.com.
Editor’s Note:  IFI’s ranking focuses on utility patents and does not include design or plant patents. Utility patents are the most common patent type and a primary means of protecting intellectual property and technological innovation. IFI compiles its ranking based on assignee name as filed with the USPTO. If a company files under multiple assignee names, IFI tracks each assignee as a separate entity.
CLAIMS® is a registered trademark of IFI CLAIMS Patent Services.
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 and the innovative CLAIMS DIRECT platform and web service. 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.

* Total US Patent Count was corrected to 300,678