Patents may sometimes get a bad rap for how they are abused (and misused) by some companies for commercial gain, but they also remain a marker of how a tech company is progressing with its R&D and pushing ahead on innovation. For one measure of that advance, today, IFI Claims, the patent analytics firm, published its 2017 list of companies with the most U.S. patents assigned for the year.
At the top of the list, IBM has once again come in at number-one, a position it’s held for the past 25 years. It was assigned 9,043 U.S. patents in 2017, one thousand more than it picked up in 2016, and around 3,300 more than its next-closest assignee, Samsung Electronics.
Rounding out the top 10 list, were Canon, Intel Corp, LG Electronics Inc, Qualcomm Inc, Google, Microsoft, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and Samsung Display.
IFI Claims notes that Samsung — the world’s biggest mobile phone maker in terms of volumes, and a tech behemoth beyond that — comes within 150 patents of IBM when you put all of their different entities together (in all it has three in the top 1000, which you can see here).
Of course, it’s not the case that patents directly correlate with a company’s fortunes, since tech that is at the cutting edge of innovation that’s winning patents may be far from ever seeing a commercial application.
And in fact, one of the world’s richest companies and most profitable tech company, Apple, didn’t make it into the top 10. Apple stayed level with last year at number 11, winning 2,229 patents. Amazon — another tech juggernaut that has some of the biggest mainstream brand…