patent wars


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patent wars

It’s time to count patents! It is definitely not a surprise who the leader is. Yes, it is IBM again. IBM has been producing the highest number of patents every year and topping this list for the last 20 years, according to the annual tally by IFI Claims Patent Services, published on Thursday.

Smartphone rivals fighting hard in the patent arena, Google and Apple, were the big movers with Google recording the highest growth of 170% and jumped from #65 last year to #21 this year. Last year, Apple was awarded 1,236 patents, or 68 percent more than in 2011. With that performance, Apple’s rank jumped to 22nd, up from 39th in 2011.

“Google and Apple are clearly taking intellectual property very seriously, and playing to win,” said Mike Baycroft, chief executive of IFI, a patent research firm.

But another Apple rival, Samsung Electronics, was granted 5,081 patents, second only to I.B.M.

Why the rush for patents?

If you are thinking why these companies churn out so many patents each year and what exactly is the big deal here is the answer – I.B.M. collected 6,478 patents last year. I.B.M.’s patent asset generates an estimated $1 billion a year in license revenue.

Of course there is reputation at stake to but how can you not notice the billions of dollars of revenue it can generate though licensing.

Top-Line Trends

  • 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.  In fact, 32 of the gainers saw double-digit or better growth.
  • 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.
  • This year marks IBM’s twentieth consecutive appearance as the list leader — receiving a record of 6,478 utility patents in 2012, up nearly 5 percent from 2011.
  • GE and LG are both back in the Top 10. General Electric, #9, makes its first appearance since 2002; LG, #10, makes its first since 2010.

Exceptional Gainers in Top 50

  • Google, +170%
  • Apple, +68%
  • Alcatel-Lucent, +59%
  • Hong Fu Jin Precision, +59%
  • Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, +59%
  • Research in Motion, +49%
  • Taiwan Semiconductor, +49%
  • QUALCOMM, 40%
  • Hon Hai Precision Industry, 33%
  • NEC, +32%
  • Sony, 33%
  • Toyota, 29%
  • Sharp, 28%
  • GM Global Technology, 26%

New to the Top 50

  • Google to #21 from #65
  • Hong Fu Jin Precision Industry (CN) to #40 from #52 – first Chinese Company to place in Top 50.
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TW) to #48 from #63
  • Alcatel-Lucent (FR) to #49 from #68


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