U.S. Patent Grants Hit Record High, IBM on Top for 19th Straight Year

Paul Lilly

IBM was awarded 6,180 patents in all of 2011, more than any other company in the world and nearly 1,300 more than Samsung, which was granted the second most patents with 4,894. After that, the Top 50 list compiled by IFI Claims Patent Services starts to drop off with Canon (No. 3) having added 2,821 patents to its portfolio last year, followed by Panasonic (No. 4) with 2,559 and Toshiba (No. 5) with 2,483. IBM has led the pack for 19 years straight, but don't hate the player, hate the game.

According to IFI, the USPTO issued 224,505 utility patents in 2011, up 2 percent over 2010's record breaking total. It's the way the game is played these days, and there's interest from all around the world in securing U.S. patents.

"Global companies, and especially Asian ones, are collecting U.S patents at a dizzying pace, and now Asian firms hold eight of the top 10 slots in the 2011 ranking," said Mike Baycroft , CEO, IFI Claims Patent Services. "This isn’t to say that U.S. companies have lost their verve for patent production, as their patent portfolios are also growing. It seems that Asian companies have apparently made it a higher priority."

IFI says that Asian firms now account for 25, or half, of the top 50 U.S. patent-grant recipients, with U.S. firms nabbing 17 spots on the list.

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