14 Jan 2020

Annual US patent grants at all-time high

Samsung tops the IFI's global ranking with most patents currently held, while IBM leads again with most US patent grants in 2019


US patent filings hit an all-time high in 2019 increasing by 15% with 333,530 patents granted, according to data provided by patent data platform IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. Among the companies driving the growth in US filings are IBM, Samsung Electronics and Canon, the research finds.

For the 27th year running IBM tops the 2019 IFI Top 50, which ranks US patent recipients, with 9,262 grants, up by 2% from 2018. 

Samsung Electronics is second in the US ranking with 6,469 US grants, up by 11%. Canon holds the third spot as it did last year, with Microsoft at fourth and Intel in fifth place. 

"We expected US grants to increase this year after a rise in applications last year but a surge of this magnitude is unusual," said Mike Baycroft, chief executive of IFI CLAIMS.

Dr John E Kelly III, executive vice president at IBM, said: "The pace of innovation continues to accelerate and reach unprecedented levels, especially in IBM's Labs. Technology advances - whether AI, cloud or quantum computing - will all contribute to solving the biggest challenges facing business and society."

Global ranking

A second ranking, the IFI 250 global assets report, records the the world's largest owners of active global patents by parent company, including subsidiaries. 

Samsung leads this ranking with 76,638 active patent families, followed by by IBM in second place (37,304) and Canon (35,724) in third. GE and Microsoft complete the top five.

“The two rankings tell different stories about patent activity," said Baycroft. "The US Top 50 (and Top 1000) provides insight into innovation and who is developing new intellectual property. The IFI 250 looks at current patent ownership and gives us some perspective on the relative size and strength of corporate patent portfolios.”

The fastest movers in the global table are Kia Motors (up 58 places to 41), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (up 28 places to 48), Facebook (up 22 places to 36), Micron Technology (up 9 places to 25), Huawei (up 6 places to 10), BOE Technology (up 4 places to 13), and, Microsoft (up 3 places to 4).

Among the Top 10 fastest growing technologies in terms of US patent growth are CRISPR technology, creating new hybrid plants, dashboards (mostly related to automobiles), 3-D printing and medicinal preparations (especially cancer therapies).

China rises

Huawei Technologies broke into the top 10 recipients of US patents last year, according to an analysis of filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office, the latest sign that Chinese companies are aggressive in pursuing the US lead in global technology. 

The telecom company's 2,418 patents, along with 2,177 new patents issued to display-screen maker BOE Technology Group, help propel China into the rank of fourth-biggest recipient of US patents, behind Japan and South Korea but ahead of Germany for the first time.

“China's growing rapidly but they're still way behind the US in terms of patents,” said Larry Cady, a senior analyst with IFI CLAIMS

The rankings can be found here.