Annual US patent grants increased by more than 8% in 2014, reaching an all-time high of 300,674 and surpassing the 300,000 mark for the first time, according to a ranking released today by IFI Claims Patent Services. Growth in US patent grants slowed, however, from 12.8% in 2012 and 9.7% in 2013.
The patent database and analytics company’s tabulation places IBM at the top of the ranking for the 22nd consecutive year. It was granted 7,534 patents last year, up 10.6% over 2013. IBM is the first company to break the 7,000 barrier for a single year.
The other companies in the top five are: Samsung, up 5.9%; Canon, up 6%; Sony, up 4%; and Microsoft, up 6.3%.
Nineteen US-based companies appear on the 2014 IFI CLAIMS Top 50, up from 18 in 2013 and 17 in 2011 and 2012.
Google has entered the top 10 for the first time at number eight – up 38.6% percent. It is behind seventh-placed Qualcomm by just 21 patents and is only 263 patents behind fifth-placed Microsoft. Google was ranked in 11th place in the 2013 rankings, with 1,851 patents granted. Qualcomm increased its patents count by 23% in 2014, moving up two places in the ranking from ninth. Microsoft held onto its fifth-place spot.
Apple moved up to number 11, increasing its patent counts by 12.8%, just ahead of General Electric and 92 patents short of Panasonic in 10th place.
"It was a very good year for US patents in terms of growth,” commented Mike Baycroft, CEO of IFI Claims Patent Services. “It was a particularly good year for US firms which saw major gains from many of the top patent-generators, whereas overall foreign holdings of US patents has held steady at roughly 49%."
Amazon broke into the top 50 for the first time, moving up to 50th from 59th. Other new entrants over 2013 were Huawei, at 48th, and Honeywell, which made a return to the list at 49th.
The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company rose to 23rd from 35th, with a 55% increase in utility grants.
IFI also provided some figures on US patent grant trends. New assignees accounted for about 9% of new patent grants in 2014, down from 9.5% in 2013 and 10.4% in 2012.
Foreign holdings of US grants declined very slightly to 49.1%, down from 49.4% on 2013. This figure has changed little in the past five years.
Japanese holdings of US grants continued to fall in 2014, with the figure of 18.1% down 2.5% in the past five years. Chinese holdings have doubled in that time, but account for only 2% of all 2014 grants.
Forty-two of the companies in the top 50 had an increase in patent production in 2014, up from 37 in 2013. Twenty-four companies had double-digit or better percentage rate growth.
The top 50 accounted for 27% of the total patents granted, with 82,092 patents.
You can view the top 50 companies in the 2014 ranking here. Free access to the IFI Claims Top 1,000 rankings is available by registering on the company’s website.
|IFI Claims 2014 top 20 US patent assignees|
||International Business Machines
||Hewlett Packard Development
||Telefonaktiedbolaget LM Ericksson
||Hon Hai Precision Industry
|Source: IFI Claims|