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2009 Corporate Patent Scorecard

IFI Patent Intelligence, a Wolters Kluwer Health business, released its annual compilation of the world’s top-ranked U.S.-patent companies, which suggests America’s longstanding dominance of new U.S. patents may be slipping. However, the economic downturn that epitomized 2008 did not slow the overall flow of U.S patent activity, at least not yet. According to IFI’s analysis, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a total of 157,774 utility patents in calendar year 2008, up slightly over 2007’s total of 157,284.

Although IBM still tops the list and is ahead by a relatively wide margin, the scales of patent-quantity supremacy may be shifting away from corporate America in favor of companies overseas, especially to those in Asia. As part of its analysis, IFI looked at 2008 utility patents assigned to companies separate from those owned by individuals. It found that American companies captured only 49 percent of U.S. patents granted to companies compared to 50 percent in 2007. In addition, the U.S. holds only four — less than half — of the top 10 slots, down from five the prior year. American firms also hold only 12 positions in the top 35, which collectively generated 26 percent of all the utility patents granted in 2008.

In comparison, Japanese companies hold five of the top 10 slots and 14 of the top 35.Although America is still the leading single country in total new patents for 2008, Japan trails second with 23 percent; Germany is third with 6 percent; South Korea fourth with 5 percent; and Taiwan fifth with 4 percent.

The first organization to break the 4,000 patent barrier, IBM Corp. set a new all-time record of 4,186, up 33 percent over last year. Samsung continues to hold the number 2 slot with 3,515, up 29 percent over 2007; followed by Canon at number 3, with 2,114; Microsoft comes in at number 4 with 2,030, up 24 percent over last year and 400 percent since 2003; and Intel at number 5. Other notable movers in the top 35 include Broadcom and Cisco, both up 21 percent over 2007; Hon Hai of Taiwan, up 63 percent and new to the top 35; Fujifilm, up 31 percent; and LG Philips LCD, up 25 percent.

A comprehensive analysis of U.S. patent ownership data for 2008 is published by IFI and is now available on the IFI Website. For a Free 2 week trial access to the IFI enhanced patent and published application data, please contact IFI at: 800.331.4955 or

Top Companies Receiving U.S. Patents in 2008
(Counts based on Utility and Statutory Patents only)
Rank Company Name Patents
1 International Business Machines Corp 4186
2 Samsung Electronics Co Ltd KR 3515
3 Canon K K JP 2114
4 Microsoft Corp 2028
5 Intel Corp 1776
6 Panasonic Corp JP 1744
7 Toshiba Corp JP 1607
8 Fujitsu Ltd JP 1494
9 Sony Corp JP 1485
10 Hewlett-Packard Development Co L P 1421
11 Hitachi Ltd JP 1313
12 Micron Technology Inc 1251
13 Seiko Epson Corp JP 1228
14 General Electric Co 912
15 Fujifilm Corp JP 869
16 Ricoh Co Ltd JP 857
17 Infineon Technologies AG DE 814
18 LG Electronics Inc KR 805
19 Texas Instruments Inc 757
20 Honda Motor Co Ltd JP 747
21 Siemens AG DE 724
22 Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd TW 719
23 Denso Corp JP 708
24 Cisco Technology Inc 704
25 Broadcom Corp 643

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