BIG BLUE IBM filed the most US patents in 2013 according to an end of year report from IFI Claims Patent Services.
This is not a surprise, as it has been the case for the last two decades, making 2014 IBM's 21st year in the top flight. IBM has a record 6,809 assigned patents. Samsung is second with 4,675 patents, and Canon is third with 3,825.
In fourth place is Sony and fifth place is Microsoft. The rest of the top 10 are Panasonic, Toshiba, Hon Hai, Qualcomm and LG. The last of these, LG has 1,947 patents. The list is here. All of the usual suspects are represented.
Sitting outside the top 10 at number 11 is reluctant patent owner Google, Apple is in 13th place, and stands one spot below Fujitsu. This is the first time that Google or Apple have made the top 20 list, and they have leaped halfway up it.
This was a record year for IBM, and a good year for patents and patent holders all around. Even Blackberry, which has been struggling in the business world, shored up its intellectual property portfolio last year, and jumped up nine places to 20th position.
"Not only are the number of patents increasing but the number of assignees increased this year by more than 4,000," said Mike Baycroft, CEO of IFI Claims Patent Services.
"If we look at all the nearly 60,000 assignees, only 62 grew by more than 500 patents and only 640 grew by more than 50, and that one percent contributed more than 40 percent of total new grants. What that indicates is tremendous amount of activity in the development of small patent portfolios."
This will not be news for any of the firms in the list, as each of which probably is either licensing one or more patents or suing over some others. They might find themselves dancing with some new partners soon, however, as Baycroft added that there are plenty of up and comers looking to break into the higher echelons at the patents table.
"There's little change happening in the Top 10 as most of the companies have been there for years, but as we move down list we start to see more jockeying and reordering," he said.
"It's fairly easy to see the ones with the most patent momentum - the ones that move up [five], 10, even more than 500 slots in a year. Below the Top 50 we see the candidates that are likely to bubble up tomorrow, company's like Amazon, Verizon and China's Huawei Technologies, to name a few." µ