IBM defends US patent crown in 2013

Google and Apple also crack the top 20 in patents -- but the search giant has a slight edge in patents awarded.

IBM Research investigates supercomputing, nanotechnology, medicine, and more at its Zurich labs.
IBM Research investigates supercomputing, nanotechnology, medicine, and more at its Zurich labs. Stephen Shankland/CNET

IBM takes the US patent crown again for 2013, but Qualcomm debuted in the top 10 and Google nudged out Apple as they cracked the top 20.

According to data from IFI Claims Patent Services, IBM had a record 6,809 patents and has been the top dog for the last 21 years. Samsung was No. 2 and Canon was No. 3.

Qualcomm had a 62 percent jump in patents awarded in 2013 compared to 2012 and landed in the No. 9 spot. Microsoft was No. 5.

Among the top 10 rankings there were three US companies, four Japanese companies -- Canon, Sony, Panasonic, and Toshiba -- and two Korean electronics giants -- Samsung and LG.

Google and Apple also made the top 20 list, but the search giant was awarded 1,851 patents in the US to its mobile rival's 1,775.

A few more items worth noting:

  • IBM's patents revolve around everything from neural networks to cognitive computing to analytics and big data.
  • BlackBerry was No. 20 and jumped 9 places in the patent standings. Bottom line: Blackberry is struggling as a company but it still has intellectual property horsepower.
  • Intel and HP were No. 18 and No. 19, respectively. Cisco was No. 40 in patents.
  • IFI Claims 2013 top 50 US patent assignees. IFI Claims Patent Services

    This story originally appeared as "IBM takes U.S. 2013 patent crown; Qualcomm surges to top 10" on ZDNet.

About the author

    Larry Dignan is editor in chief of ZDNet and editorial director of CNET's TechRepublic. He has covered the technology and financial-services industries since 1995.



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