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US patents ranking puts Apple 7th; worldwide Samsung is 1st


The US patents ranking for 2021 is out, and Apple is seventh in terms of the number of patents assigned to the company in the course of the year. That’s up one from eighth place in 2020.

If you can guess the US leader in terms of 2021 patent assignments, you’re doing way better than me…

Patent data specialist IFI Claims published the US top 50, headed by… IBM!

  1. International Business Machines Corp.
  2. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
  3. Canon Inc.
  4. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. TSMC Ltd.
  5. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
  6. Intel Corp.
  7. Apple Inc.
  8. LG Electronics Inc.
  9. Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC
  10. Qualcomm Inc.

The Top 50 ranking identifies 2021’s most innovative companies within the US intellectual property space. Analyzing patent grants, as seen in this report, allows you to determine which companies are actively inventing in new technology spaces. Our ranking serves as a showcase of how IFI’s patent data can be leveraged as an innovation metric for benchmarking top industry competitors.

Of course, the sheer volume of successful patent registrations is only one metric: One truly innovative patent is worth a thousand trivial ones. But it does give at least a sense of how many ideas a company is exploring.

When it comes to global rankings, the company takes a different approach – looking at all the patents currently held by companies, rather than the number of registrations last year.

The IFI Global 250 ranking focuses on Ultimate Owners, providing a complete view of an entity’s global patent holdings. Rather than looking at the grants received in a given year, such as the Top 50 ranking, the Global 250 presents the current cumulative patent holdings in a given portfolio.

Here, Apple is ranked 37th, with 20,491 active patents. The top 10 is:

  1. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
  2. Chinese Academy of Sciences CAS
  3. Midea Group Co. Ltd.
  4. Huawei Investment and Holding Co. Ltd.
  5. China Petrochemical Corp.
  6. China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd. CSCEC
  7. Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai
  8. International Business Machines Corp.
  9. Canon Inc.
  10. Panasonic Corp.

Patently Apple notes that China now holds more patents than the US, although you again need to consider quality as well as quantity.

If you consider the size of the portfolios, China holds nearly one in three or 29 percent of the Global 250 patent families compared to the US (24 percent) and Japan (19 percent). Deeper analysis shows that US and Japan portfolios are stronger and more mature, nevertheless it is clear that China has stimulated an R&D culture that is serious about intellectual property.

Photo: Tool., Inc. / Unsplash

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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