IFI CLAIMS Announces Top U.S. Patent Assignees of 2012

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

IFI Announces Top U.S. Patent Assignees of 2012

IBM Captures Top Slot 20 Years in a Row; Google’s First Appearance in the Top 50 Edges Out Apple by One Position 

MADISON, Conn., Jan. 10, 2013 — IFI CLAIMS® Patent Services, the leading producer of global patent databases, analytic solutions and innovative web services, today announced the Top-50 U.S. Patent Assigneesfor 2012.  Using proprietary algorithms and 50 years' experience analyzing U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) data, IFI compiles the most trusted annual ranking of global companies assigned the most U.S. utility patents for the year.  Utility patents are the most common patent type and a primary means of protecting intellectual property and technological innovation.
This year marks IBM’s twentieth consecutive appearance as the list leader — receiving a record 6,478 utility patents in 2012, up nearly 5 percent from 2011.  Samsung is second with 5,081, up nearly 4 percent, and Canon third with 3,174, up 12 percent.  Sony comes in fourth with a gain of nearly 33 percent over 2011, and Panasonic and Microsoft are fifth and sixth, respectively.  General Electric made it back into the top 10 at position #9 up from #11 last year, producing a total of three U.S. companies in the top 10.  The remaining companies in the top 10 hail from Asia.
Apple and Google, Neck-and-Neck
A considerable amount of reshuffling occurred in the top 50 this year, which is underscored by the close race between Apple and Google.  Google makes its first appearance in the top 50 at position #21, edging out Apple by just 15 patents.  Google increased its patent counts by 170 percent – the best gain in the top 50 – jumping up from #65 last year.  Apple, which made its first appearance in IFI’s top 50 in 2010, also made considerable gains jumping up to #22 from #39 last year, an increase of 68 percent.
According to IFI, the USPTO issued 253,155 utility patents in 2012, the highest annual number on record and an increase of approximately 13 percent over 2011.  All but nine companies in the top 50 saw an increase in patent production over last year.  Among the gainers, 32 saw double-digit or better growth, a showing that demonstrates just how important the race for patent accumulation has become.
“For the past five years, the world’s appetite for U.S. patents has been seemingly insatiable,” said Mike Baycroft, CEO, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services.  “Again this year, we’re seeing a new record for the total number of grants in a single year.”
A total of 17 U.S. based firms made the top-50 list in 2012, the same number as in 2011.   The number of Asian firms also held steady at 26.
“U.S. companies are holding their own against a growing number of Asian and European firms that, in recent years, have put a very high priority on patent accumulation,” continued Baycroft.  “IBM has made this strategy a priority for more than two decades and now many of the other U.S. firms are following suit as a means to outpace current and future competition.”
One important factor in evaluating patent trends, according to Baycroft, is total portfolio ownership.  AT&T, Samsung and Sony, for example, file their patents under multiple assignee names.  IFI maintains a database of standardized assignee names that it uses to create an accurate view of each corporate portfolio.  Companies around the world use IFI's Patent Intelligence & Technology Reports and its custom reporting services to track trends and benchmark performance.  
In addition to IFI’s 2012 Top-50 Ranking, a collection of 2012 Patent Trends and Insights is available on the company’s website at www.ificlaims.com. The full report, which offers comprehensive 2012 patent information on more than 5,800 companies, can be accessed through the Patent Intelligence & Technology Report, also accessible on the IFI website.  
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, 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.