patent

Tech patent leader remains IBM, but Google accelerates

IBM retained its patent crown in 2013, snaring more U.S. patents than any other company for the 21st year in a row. But the big news is Google, which quickened its patent pace and climbed to No. 11 in the rankings.

IBM was awarded 6809 utility patents last year, according to data from IFI Claims Patent Services. That record-setting haul is up 5 percent compared to 2012, when Big Blue earned 6478 patents.

After IBM, Samsung Electronics was the second most prolific patent winner, with 4675 patents received in 2013. Canon placed third with 3825 patents, followed by Sony (3098), Microsoft (2660), Panasonic (2601), Toshiba (2416), Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (2279), Qualcomm (2103), and LG Electronics (1947).

Last year, Google increased its patent count by 60 percent and took home 1851 patents. That was enough to land Google at No. 11 in IFI’s rankings, up from No. 21 in 2012. Google first appeared among IFI’s top 50 in 2012, when it earned 1151 patents.

With 1775 patents, Apple landed at No. 13 in the 2012 rankings, up from No. 39 in 2011.

Record year for patents

IFI reports that 2013 was a record year for patents. Overall, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued 277,835 utility patents which is 10 percent more patents than were issued in 2012. Eighteen U.S.-based firms made the top 50 list in 2013 (one more than in 2012).

Cisco’s patent count declined. The company earned 885 patents in 2013, down 7 percent from 951 patents in 2012, and slid in the rankings, dropping to No. 40 from a rank of 31 in 2012. Alcatel-Lucent dropped out of the Top 50 from No. 49 in 2012 to No. 54 in 2013.

Other tech vendors earning spots on the top 50 list include Intel, which placed 18th with 1455 patents; and Hewlett-Packard, in 19th place with 1360 patents. Right behind HP is BlackBerry, the only Canadian company in the top 50. It jumped nine places to No. 20 with 1334 patents.

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