2017 Patent Trends and Insights
- Top 50 list: view a list of the top 50 assignees from 2017.
- Top 1000 list: view an expanded version of the top 50 list with each assignee's 5-year history. Login or registration required.
- How we do it: learn how our data production process results in the highest quality patent data available.
- Fast growing technologies: see what kinds of patents have the most compound growth.
A record number of patents were granted by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2017. Asia continues to be a strong player.
- The USPTO issued 320,003 Utility Grant patents in 2017. This is a record number and a 5.2% increase over 2016’s record year.
- US companies received 46% of these patents. Asian companies received 31% and European companies received 15%.
- Chinese companies represent only 3.5% of 2017 US Grants, but their total of 11,240 US patents is an increase of 28% over 2016.
Many leading companies from 2016 continued to dominate in 2017. Facebook and BOE Technology Group made large gains.
- IBM received the most utility grants in 2017. Their total of 9,045 is a 12% increase over their 8,088 total in 2016.
- Among companies that received the most patents, Intel Corp and LG Electronics both moved up two places in the rankings – putting them at #4 and #5 in IFI’s rankings.
- BOE Technology Group made a big jump from #40 in 2016 to #21 in 2017. Based in Beijing, BOE produces display and sensing devices.
- Facebook Inc jumped into the Top 50. Their 660 utility grants give them a ranking of #50 – an impressive increase over their #86 ranking in 2016.
- See our 2017 Top 50 list for more details.
- Companies showing impressive gains are Japanese automobile parts manufacturer Denso Corp (#35 with an increase of 23% grants from 2016), Honeywell International (#39 with an increase of 27%), Halliburton Energy Services (#44 with an increase of 35%) and Chinese Shenzhen China Star Optoelctronics (#45 with an increase of 44%).
- Toyota, Ford, and Hyundai also showed sizable growth.
- Computers (G06F) and telecommunications (H04L) remained in the top two spots.
- 2017 saw a big jump in specific types of data processing systems (patent class G06Q). This business methods patent class has been volatile over the last few years due to recent court decisions regarding patentability.
- Pharmaceuticals (A61K) and Diagnostics/Surgical (A61B) showed healthy gains.
- Classification Y10T “TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION” is frequently used by the USPTO and would rank #5 in 2017, but has been excluded from the Top 10 Classifications list because it does not relate to any one specific technology.
- Y02T did not make the rankings this year, but we have included it in the past.