2018 was the year of IBM when it comes to patents. However, the total number of patents granted over the year has decreased slightly compared to other years. The vast majority of patent applications came from the United States (46 percent), followed by Asia (31 percent).
The company IFI Claims, which investigates patents, publishes a report every year. It looks at patents in the tech industry. For the twenty-sixth year in a row, IBM turned out to be the company with the most patents granted. In total, it was awarded 9,100. The rest of the top five consists of Samsung, Canon, Intel and LG. That’s the same top five as a year ago.
Fewer patents granted
Overall, the number of patents granted in 2018 decreased slightly compared to the previous year: 3.5 percent. Many companies in the top fifty saw the number of patents granted to them decrease. Sony (number 15), among others, saw the number of patents granted fall by 21 percent. Google (number 11) with 16 percent and Qualcomm (number 8) with 12 percent. Facebook – which was in the top fifty for the first time last year – has now disappeared from that list again. At the same time, Chinese companies seem to be getting more out of their patent portfolio on average.
It is not clear why companies as a whole were granted fewer patents. It may be that companies innovate less. On the other hand, industry may also adopt a new approach to intellectual property. At the same time, the number of patent applications had grown last year, to 374,763 in total.
Other striking trends:
- Ford is now the only car company in the top ten, and is able to get patents on autonomous vehicles. The company jumped five places forward compared to a year earlier.
- Apple is back in the top ten, even though it was awarded three percent fewer patents.
- All Samsung subsidiaries combined, brings the group to 61,608 active patent families. Canon is in second place with 34,905 patents and IBM is in third place with 34,376 patents.