WILMINGTON, Del., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- For the second straight year, foreign companies collectively captured a slight majority of new U.S. patents awarded to corporations by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). According to an annual corporate ranking released today by IFI Patent Intelligence (www.ificlaims.com), part of Wolters Kluwer, U.S. corporations garnered 49 percent of all U.S. utility patents issued in 2009 with the remainder going to foreign firms. This is only the second time that foreign companies collectively received more U.S. patents than U.S.-based firms.
"It's foolhardy to use this statistic to infer that American firms are losing ground to foreign competitors because with patents it's important to consider quality, as well as quantity," said Darlene Slaughter, general manager of IFI Patent Intelligence. "What we're seeing this year is that innovation in American firms is far from declining, in fact, many had impressive gains and several posted record numbers of total new patents."
As a whole, U.S. companies received approximately 7 percent more utility patents in 2009 than in 2008, compared to 6.5 percent by foreign companies. The U.S. also received more than twice as many corporate patents than Japan (23%), the country with the second most U.S. patents issued in 2009. South Korea (5.6%) moved into third place displacing Germany (5.2%) for the first time.
#1 IBM Approaches 5,000-Patent Mark, Sets All-Time High
Collectively, U.S. firms may be slightly behind foreign firms as a group, but individually, they showed significant improvement over 2008. For example, IBM achieved an all-time high for any company of 4,914, up 17 percent. Microsoft took over the #3 slot boosting its total patents by 43 percent. IFI observed several additional impressive year-over-year gains by U.S. firms in the top 50:
- Boeing, up 26%
- Broadcom, up 11%
- Cisco, up 30%
- General Electric, up 7%
- GM Global, up 68%
- Honeywell, up nearly 6%
- Sun, up 10%
- Xerox, up 18%
Although the margin of patent dominance between U.S. and non-U.S. firms is slight and has been for several years, there is no uncertainty that foreign firms are adding patents at a frenetic pace. "Interest in protecting corporate intellectual property has become intense both in the U.S. and abroad, and as a result we're seeing an increased level of patent activity," continued Slaughter. "The silver lining may be that the high priority foreign firms place on U.S. patents is a confirmation of the value and importance that the U.S. market represents."
Great Recession Yet to Stem Flow
According to IFI's analysis, the USPTO issued a total of 167,350 utility patents in calendar year 2009, up 6.1% over 2008, and approaching the all-time high of 173,772 set in 2006. It would appear that the economic downturn of the past two years has yet to slow the flow of U.S. patent activity. However, the USPTO posted a 1.8 percent decrease in patent applications for its fiscal year 2009 for a total of 457,966, the first annual decrease in applications since fiscal year 1996. As a result, this decrease could translate into fewer patent issues in the coming two or three years.
IFI Posts 2009's Top-50 Patent Recipients
Employing proprietary authority lists and algorithms to enhance the speed and accuracy of the culling process, IFI analyzed 2009 calendar year USPTO data and prepared what has become the official ranking of U.S. patent assignees. The company posted the 2009 top-50 today on its website at www.ificlaims.com:
Rank Company Name 2009 Patents 1 INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP 4914 2 SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO LTD KR 3611 3 MICROSOFT CORP 2906 4 CANON K K JP 2206 5 PANASONIC CORP JP (1) 1829 6 TOSHIBA CORP JP 1696 7 SONY CORP JP 1680 8 INTEL CORP 1537 9 SEIKO EPSON CORP JP 1330 10 HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT CO L P (2) 1273 11 FUJITSU LTD JP 1220 12 LG ELECTRONICS INC KR 1065 13 HITACHI LTD JP 1058 14 HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY CO LTD TW 995 15 RICOH CO LTD JP 988 16 GENERAL ELECTRIC CO 979 17 MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC 966 18 CISCO TECHNOLOGY INC 913 19 FUJIFILM CORP JP 880 20 HONDA MOTOR CO LTD JP 774 21 DENSO CORP JP 745 22 SIEMENS AG DE 716 23 BROADCOM CORP 714 24 SHARP K K JP 657 25 HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC 655 26 TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC 652 27 NOKIA AB OY FI 648 28 XEROX CORP 624 29 INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES AG DE 605 30 LG DISPLAY CO LTD KR (3) 597 31 HYNIX SEMICONDUCTOR INC KR 587 32 SUN MICROSYSTEMS INC 561 33 SEMICONDUCTOR ENERGY LABORATORY CO LTD JP 545 34 BOEING CO THE 534 35 BROTHER KOGYO K K JP 532 35 MITSUBISHI DENKI K K JP 532 35 TOYOTA JIDOSHA K K JP 532 38 GM GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY OPERATIONS INC 531 39 NEC CORP JP 526 40 KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS ELECTRONICS N V NL 515 41 SILVERBROOK RESEARCH PTY LTD AU 474 42 BOSCH, ROBERT GMBH DE 467 43 AT&T INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY I L P 444 44 SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD JP 443 45 FUJI XEROX CO LTD JP 425 46 SAMSUNG SDI CO LTD KR 423 47 ALCATEL-LUCENT USA INC 413 48 INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE TW 397 49 NEC ELECTRONICS CORP JP 391 50 HITACHI GLOBAL STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES NETHERLANDS B V NL 385 (1) includes 58 patents issued to former company name Matsushita Electric Industrial Co JP (2) includes 4 patents issued to Hewlett-Packard Co (3) includes 1 patent issued to former company name LG Philips LCD Co KR
Market sectors with the heaviest new patent activity include Multiplex Communications (US class 370) and Semiconductors (US classes 438 and 257), representing almost 15,000 patents total for 2009. The bio sectors of Drug Compositions (US class 514) had 3,474 patents and Biotechnology (US class 435) had over 2,700 patents issued, up 17 percent and 1 percent respectively over the previous year.
IFI compiles its list using the powerful indexing and standardization algorithms of CLAIMS®, the most reliable, text-searchable database of U.S. patents in the world. The collection of CLAIMS® databases makes searching for patent data accurate and efficient. CLAIMS® is available via Dialog, STN International and Questel.
For more than 50 years, IFI has been the preeminent producer of patent databases. Complete information on more than 1,800 companies worldwide that received 10 or more U.S. patents in 2009 will be published in IFI's Patent Intelligence and Technology Report, available in May. For more information, visit www.ificlaims.com.
About IFI Patent Intelligence
For more than 50 years, IFI Patent Intelligence (Wilmington, DE), part of Wolters Kluwer, has been the preeminent producer of enhanced U.S patent databases. From the most rigorous U.S. assignee name standardization process in the industry, to continual class code updates, and comprehensive indexing for chemical patents — IFI has built a solid reputation in patent databases. For more information, visit www.IFIclaims.com or call 800-331-4955 or 302-633-7200, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Wolters Kluwer
Wolters Kluwer is a leading global information services and publishing company. The company provides products and services for professionals in the health, tax, accounting, corporate, financial services, legal, and regulatory sectors. Wolters Kluwer had 2008 annual revenues of euro 3.4 billion ($4.9 billion), employs approximately 20,000 people worldwide, and maintains operations in over 35 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Its shares are quoted on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Visit www.wolterskluwer.com for information about our market positions, customers, brands, and organization.
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