- New record for most U.S. patents in single year
- IBM tops list again breaking its all-time high
- 50 percent of all Top 50 grants attributed to Asia
2016 saw 304,126 utility patent grants, the most on record in a single year, according to IFI CLAIMS. IBM again holds the #1 slot, which it has for 24 consecutive years, with 8,088 patents—up nearly 10 percent over 2015 and the most any company has ever acquired in a calendar year. The other Top 5 recipients remain unchanged from 2015 with Samsung at #2, Canon at #3, Qualcomm at #4, and Google again at #5.
All of the patents generated by the IFI CLAIMS Top 50 are attributable to just 11 countries. The U.S. holds 41 percent of those patent counts followed by Japan at 28 percent; South Korea at 15 percent; Taiwan at 4 percent; Germany at 2.6 percent and China at 2.5 percent. At 17 each, the U.S. and Japan are tied for the most assignees in the Top 50. Asian companies, however, now represent 50 percent of the total Top 50 counts and occupy 26 slots.
Japan has long been a dominant player in the U.S. ranking, but according to IFI’s 2016 U.S. Patent Trends & Insights, its patent activity appears to be shrinking a bit this year with 12 of its 17 Top 50 firms reporting patent count decreases compared to 2015. IFI data show that Brother, Canon, Denso, FUJIFILM, Honda, Panasonic, Ricoh, SELC, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and Toyota all saw decreases.
Fueled by IBM and a host of West Coast tech companies, the U.S. saw patent increases from 10 of its 17 firms on the list including Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Boeing, Cisco, Ford, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Texas Instruments. Interestingly, Apple increased counts but remained at #11. Unchanged at 2835 grants, Google still held onto #5 with #6 Intel close on its heels by only 51 patents.
“Although it was a bit of a down year for Japan, Asia as a whole continues to make impressive gains with U.S. patents,” said Mike Baycroft, CEO, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. “American tech companies are similarly motivated but it will be interesting to see how this path plays out in five or ten years. At this rate, South Korea, China and Taiwan will likely capture an even larger share of the U.S. patent market.”
Big gainers in 2016 include Nokia, up 74%; Hyundai up 39%; China’s Huawei Technologies, up 50%; Amazon, up 46%; and Intel, up 36% over 2015.
The biggest mover, according to Larry Cady, Senior Analyst, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, is #22 GlobalFoundries, up from #60 with an impressive 131 percent gain over 2015. Registered in the Cayman Islands with operations in Santa Clara, Calif., GlobalFoundries gained patent momentum from recent IBM semiconductor acquisitions to achieve 1,407 utility grants in 2016 compared to 609 in 2015.
The company also provides free online access to the IFI CLAIMS Top 1,000 rankings, a multi-year analysis of the global patentees that receive the most U.S. utility grants.
One of the oldest and most trusted patent analysis firms, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services is known throughout the world as the gold standard tabulator of U.S. and global patents. For more than 60 years, clients have turned to IFI to assist with patent analysis and more recently as a means of tracking “total portfolio ownership.” The company tracks patent data worldwide including the U.S., Europe, Japan and China. For more information visit www.ificlaims.com.
CLAIMS® is a registered trademark of IFI CLAIMS Patent Services.
About IFI CLAIMS Patent Services/Fairview Research
Headquartered in the U.S. in New Haven, Conn. with satellite offices in Munich, Germany, and Barcelona, Spain, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services 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 worldwide including North America, Europe, and Asia. IFI CLAIMS is a division of Fairview Research, 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.