IFI CLAIMS Announces 2018’s Top U.S. Patent Recipients

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- U.S. grants decline by 3.5 percent after nearly a decade of increases
- IBM leads annual ranking as it has for 26 straight years
- Samsung tops IFI’s new “ultimate ownership” ranking
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 8, 2019 — IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, provider of a leading global patent data platform, today released its annual analysis of U.S. patent activity for 2018.  Highlights are posted on the company’s website together with the 2018 Top 50 U.S. Patent Recipients, the world’s most trusted annual ranking of U.S. patent assignees.

IBM continued its 26-year streak as the U.S. patent leader with 9,100 grants in 2018—a one percent increase from 2017.  This increase in an otherwise down year for patent grants demonstrates IBM’s ongoing commitment to innovation, according to Mike Baycroft, CEO, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services.  

Samsung Electronics is #2 with 5,850 U.S. grants—up slightly from 2017. 

Canon holds the #3 spot as it did last year, with Intel Corp. at #4 and LG Electronics at #5.  All showed declines from 2017.   

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued 308,853 utility grants in calendar year 2018, a decline of 3.5 percent from the previous year.  This follows a record year in 2017 when the number of utility grants grew by 5.2 percent.

 “After many years of growth, we’re seeing a decline in U.S. patent grants for 2018,” said Baycroft.  “We expect that to be temporary because applications are up from last year.  Also notable is China’s continued growth which is indeed impressive.”

Published pre-grant patent applications increased slightly to 374,763. This follows a 2 percent decline in 2017 and a slight decline in 2016.  The decline in utility grants in 2018 was a direct result of the decline in applications in 2016 and 2017. 

The report’s breakdown by region shows the U.S. with a 46 percent share of 2018 grants and the rest of the world with 54 percent.  Asia holds the next largest share after the U.S. at 31 percent while Europe holds 15 percent.  A breakdown by country shows Japan with 16 percent of U.S. grants, South Korea with 6.5 percent, and Germany with 5 percent.  Mainland China holds 4 percent or 12,589 patents—up 12 percent over 2017.  China was the only major patenting country to show a net increase in the 2018 rankings.  
 
New this year is IFI’s Ultimate Patent Ownership analysis that tabulates the world’s largest current patent holders including their subsidiaries.  As of December 31, 2018, Samsung Electronics holds the top slot with 61,608 active patent families, followed by Canon at #2 with 34,905 and IBM at #3 with 34,376.  Unlike IFI’s annual Top U.S. Patent Recipients, this broader ranking measures the size of a patent owner’s global portfolio based on the number of active patent families.  A patent family is a set of patent publications filed around the world to cover a single invention.

“Ultimate Patent Ownership offers another important view of the current patent landscape,” continued Baycroft.  “As many patent assets are sold, transferred, or abandoned, this list provides useful insight into the current state and size of corporate patent portfolios.”

New Interactive Top 1,000 List Allows Custom Views
For a deeper look into the U.S. patent rankings, visit the IFI CLAIMS Top 1,000, a free, multi-year analysis of the global assignees that receive the most U.S. utility grants.  New this year, the tool offers interactive features that allow users to create their own lists.  A set of filters provides options to sort on criteria such as assignee name, grants from the prior year, country, publishing authority and patent classification codes.
 
One of the oldest and most trusted patent information firms, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services is known throughout the world as a gold standard for ranking and analyzing U.S. and global patents.  For more than 60 years, clients have turned to IFI for the support of essential business functions.  The company standardizes, aggregates, and enriches patent data from more than 90 countries.
 
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