Top 10 Companies For US Patents In 2008: IBM Again #1 - InformationWeek
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6/29/2009
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Bob Evans
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Top 10 Companies For US Patents In 2008: IBM Again #1

IBM was awarded 4,186 patents last year to lead the Top 10 list, marking the 16th straight year IBM has earned more US patents than any other company in the world. IBM's achievement - that's more than 11 patent granted every single day for the entire year - also marks the first time any organization has been awarded more than 4,000 US patents in a single year.

IBM was awarded 4,186 patents last year to lead the Top 10 list, marking the 16th straight year IBM has earned more US patents than any other company in the world. IBM's achievement - that's more than 11 patent granted every single day for the entire year - also marks the first time any organization has been awarded more than 4,000 US patents in a single year.The authors of Business Success Through Innovation also said that California came in first on the Top 10 list for states into which US patents were granted. It was not a close call: California organizations were granted more patents than states finishing second, third, fourth, and fifth combined.

Here's the list of 10 companies - and along the lines of what my colleague Rob Preston noted recently in his recent blockbuster column -- "When National IT Pride Devolves Into IT Stereotypes" -- about the huge numbers of US patents being awarded to Japanese companies, you'll see that six of 10 companies are the list are based in Japan:

1. IBM-4,186 2. Samsung Electronics-3,515 3. Canon-2,114 4. Microsoft-2,030 5. Intel-1,776 6. Matsushita Electric Industrial-1,745 7. Toshiba-1,609 8. Fujitsu-1,494 9. Sony-1,485 10. Hewlett-Packard-1,424

And here's the Top 10 list of states into which patents were granted last year, according to the Business Success Through Innovation authors:

1. California-22,202 2. Texas-6,184 3. New York-5,905 4. Washington-4,158 5. Massachusetts-3,897 6. Michigan-3,584 7. Illinois-3,581 8. New Jersey-3,247 9. Ohio-3,156 10. Minnesota-2,869

While these lists are intriguing, a third ranking from the authors shows the Top 10 technology sectors that received patents in 2008, and some of the categories - particularly #7 below - indicate that the US Patent Office might want to do a little updating of its categories. Then again, maybe I've been asleep at the wheel and the category of "Multicomputer Data Transferring" has bumped the iPhone out of the top spot for the cool tool everyone loves to talk about:

1. Drug, Bio-Affecting and Body Treating Compositions-4,779 2. Semiconductor Device Manufacturing: Process-4,514 3. Multiplex Communications-4,513 4. Active Solid State Devices-4,109 5. Telecommunications-3,114 6. Chemistry: Molecular Biology and Microbiology-2,675 7. Multicomputer Data Transferring-2,672 8. Organic Compounds-2,625 9. Image Analysis-2,418 10. Computer Graphics Processing and Selective Visual Display Systems-2,334

Looking behind the lists themselves, authors David E. Rogers and Amy L. Hartzer note that the real value of patents lies in the fact that "about 75% of the value of publicly traded U.S. companies is in intangible assets rather than plant or equipment. Innovation and the control of innovations through legal mechanisms, particularly patents, are imperative for companies and entrepreneurs hoping to succeed in today's economy."

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