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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.

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 CLAIMSŪ, the most reliable, text-searchable database of U.S. patents in the world. The collection of CLAIMSŪ databases makes searching for patent data accurate and efficient. CLAIMSŪ 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

Top Companies Receiving U.S. Patents in 2009
(Counts based on Utility and Statutory Patents only)
Rank Company Name Patents
1 International Business Machines Corp 4,914
2 Samsung Electronics Co Ltd KR 3,611
3 Microsoft Corp 2,906
4 Canon K K JP 2,206
5 Panasonic Corp JP 1,829
6 Toshiba Corp JP 1,696
7 Sony Corp JP 1,680
8 Intel Corp 1,537
9 Seiko Epson Corp JP 1,330
10 Hewlett-Packard Development Co L P 1,269
11 Fujitsu Ltd JP 1,220
12 LG Electronics Inc KR 1,065
13 Hitachi Ltd JP 1,058
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

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