Update: IBM says it believes it will still top the official U.S. patent list for the year. See a statement from the company below.
Samsung has been granted more U.S. patents so far this year than any other company — including IBM, Google, Sony, Microsoft and Apple — and the company is keeping the pipeline full by applying for more patents than any of its rivals, as well.
The consumer electronics giant, which has been embroiled in high-profile patent battles with Apple and others in the past, received 7,679 utility patents through Dec. 11, according to patent data released this week by Sqoop, a Seattle-based news alerting service for journalists.
IBM, which topped the list at mid-year, is No. 2 in the latest ranking, with 7,005 patents granted over the same time period, according to the Sqoop data. Others in the top 10 for granted patents are Canon, LG, Google, Qualcomm, Toshiba, Sony, Microsoft and Panasonic. Amazon comes in at No. 22 with 1,205 patents granted so far this year.
“Interestingly, all of these companies received far more grants in the back half of the year,” says Sqoop co-founder Bill Hankes, a former Microsoft and RealNetworks communications executive, in a post about the rankings. “This trend is true also for patent applications: far more were published in the last six months. It may be worth noting that December of 2014 was particularly heavy, so the actual totals for 2015 could change.”
In addition to receiving more utility patents than anyone else, Samsung has also applied for more utility patents than any other company so far this year, with 4,443 published patent applications through Dec. 11.
In addition, Samsung topped a separate list of design patents, with 1,352 over the same time frame, compared with LG’s 469 design patents, Microsoft’s 302, and Apple’s 184. As explained by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a design patent protects the way an invention looks, while a utility patent protects the way the invention works and is used.
Update, 9:45 a.m.: An IBM representative says in a statement, “This report is not based on any data we recognize. IBM remains optimistic we will remain atop the annual U.S. Patent list, but that distinction is determined and announced by IFI Claims Patent Services based on U.S. Patent and Trademark Office data.”
One difference, for example, is that the Sqoop ranking combines subsidiaries and affiliate companies to create the overall ranking, whereas the official USPTO list treats these different affiliated companies as separate for purposes of the ranking.
Here are Sqoop’s rankings of the top 10 companies receiving and applying for utility patents so far this year. See the company’s post for the full lists of top 40 companies in each category, with footnotes on the related licensing entities.
Utility Patent Grants (B1, B2)
|2||International Business Machines Corporation||7,005|
|3||Canon Kabushiki Kaisha||3,967|
|7||Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba||2,510|
Utility Patent Applications (A1)
|2||International Business Machines Corporation||4,126|
|4||Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba||1,979|
|6||General Electric Company||1,420|
|8||Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha||1,299|
|10||Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.,Ltd.||1,234|