When Success is Measured in Patents – Today’s Most Innovative Technology Companies


If technology companies’ success was measured in patent grants, the market would have looked differently. According to a new report, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has registered a massive amount of patents in 2013. The company was granted nearly 7,000 patents in just one year. At this is the number of IBM patents only in the U.S.

Actually, IBM has topped the list for more than 20 years now. Since 1992, the technology company has remained on the first spot. This year, the tech giant filed patents for innovations in fields like big data, cloud computing, hardware technology, analytics, as well as cognitive computing.

IBM is followed by Samsung Electronics. The South Korean giant has been granted a little under 4,500 patents in 2013. That is nearly 1,500 less compared to IMB’s grants.

Microsoft has improved its position with one spot compared to 2012. Qualcomm, on the other hand, increased the amount of its patents with more than 60%. As a result, the company landed in this year’s top 10. U.S. technology giants, Apple and Google, have also moved up. Apple has jumped with nine positions to the 13th spot. Google has climbed 10 places and it is not occupying the 11th position.

All in all, U.S. and Japanese technology companies seem to dominate the top 20 this year. In fact, there are only four technology manufacturers that are not based in these two countries. Apart from Samsung, those include Foxconn Electronics (8), LG (10), as well as BlackBerry (20).

This is the full list of the 20 technology companies that received the most patent grants in 2013:

  • IBM (U.S.) – 6809 patents
  • Samsung (South Korea) – 4676 patents
  • Canon (Japan) – 3825 patents
  • Sony (Japan) – 3098 patents
  • Microsoft (U.S.) – 2660 patents
  • Panasonic (Japan) – 2601 patents
  • Toshiba (Japan) – 2416 patents
  • Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) (Taiwan) – 2279 patents
  • QUALCOMM (U.S.) – 2103 patents
  • LG (South Korea) – 1947 patents
  • Google (U.S.) – 1851 patents
  • Fujitsu (Japan) – 1806 patents
  • Apple (U.S.) – 1775 patents
  • General Electric (U.S.) – 1739 patents
  • GM Global Technology Operations (U.S.) – 1626 patents
  • Seiko Epson Corp (Japan) – 1494 patents
  • Ricoh Co. (Japan) – 1470 patents
  • Intel (U.S.) – 1455 patents
  • HP (U.S.) – 1360 patents
  • BlackBerry (Canada) – 1334 patents

However, patent grants can hardly be regarded as a sign of success or high profits. Patents are basically a way for companies to mark their territory. Once they “claim” an intellectual idea, they prevent their competition from using it. That is namely why the big players on the technology market are constantly taking part in different patent battles.

The real success comes when a company manages to turn its patents into profits. Here, companies with less patents, like Apple, Amazon and Google seem to take the lead. Nevertheless, more patents do mean more new ideas and, thus, more innovation.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here