For the 17th consecutive year, IBM has been awarded more U.S. patents than any other company in the world, but non-U.S. companies for the second time collectively earned more than 50% of patents granted. Check out the full Top 10 list and take a guess on which company had more patents in 2009: Intel or Microsoft?If you guessed it was the brainy engineers at Intel, you win a prize-but for second place. Microsoft's employees earned 2,906 patents for the year, almost twice as many as Intel's 1,537.
But add both of those together and they still won't match IBM's world-leading figure of 4,914 patents, which is up about 20% from the company's world-leading 2008 figure of 4,186.
Here's the full Top 10 list, brought to you by IFI Patent Intelligence: