IBM continues to hold the #1 place in the latest annual list of U.S. top patent recipients, followed by Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm and Google.
IBM has remained in the top of the list for 24 consecutive years, with 8,088 patents-up nearly 10 percent over 2015 and the most any company has ever acquired in a calendar year.
The list has been released by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, a producer of global patent databases. The company is using algorithms to analyze U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) data and ranks global patent assignees by number of utility patents received each calendar year.
2016 saw 304,126 utility patent grants, the most on record in a single year, according to IFI CLAIMS. All of the patents generated by the IFI CLAIMS Top 50 are attributable to just 11 countries. The U.S. holds 41 percent of those patent counts followed by Japan at 28 percent; South Korea at 15 percent; Taiwan at 4 percent; Germany at 2.6 percent and China at 2.5 percent. At 17 each, the U.S. and Japan are tied for the most assignees in the Top 50. Asian companies, however, now represent 50 percent of the total Top 50 counts and occupy 26 slots.
Japan has long been a dominant player in the U.S. ranking, but according to IFI's 2016 U.S. Patent Trends & Insights, its patent activity appears to be shrinking a bit this year with 12 of its 17 Top 50 firms reporting patent count decreases compared to 2015. IFI data show that Brother, Canon, Denso, FUJIFILM, Honda, Panasonic, Ricoh, SELC, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and Toyota all saw decreases.
Fueled by IBM and a host of West Coast tech companies, the U.S. saw patent increases from 10 of its 17 firms on the list including Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Boeing, Cisco, Ford, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Texas Instruments. Interestingly, Apple increased counts but remained at #11. Unchanged at 2835 grants, Google still held onto #5 with #6 Intel close on its heels by only 51 patents.
Big gainers in 2016 include Nokia, up 74%; Hyundai up 39%; China's Huawei Technologies, up 50%; Amazon, up 46%; and Intel, up 36% over 2015.
The biggest mover is #22 GlobalFoundries, up from #60 with an impressive 131 percent gain over 2015. Registered in the Cayman Islands with operations in Santa Clara, Calif., GlobalFoundries gained patent momentum from recent IBM semiconductor acquisitions to achieve 1,407 utility grants in 2016 compared to 609 in 2015.