2017 marked another stellar year for the global technology and innovation company, IBM, who gained over 9,000 US patents, while Facebook also managed to break into the top 50 for the first time.
Patents remain a clear and key indicator of how individual firms are progressing in terms of technological innovation, and the patent analytics firm IFI’s yearly rankings of US patents gained reflect the stable landscape of global innovation.
This year, IBM succeeded in securing 1,000 more patents than in 2016, with a total of 9,043 US patents added to their roster over the course of the year. It is a trend that IBM looks set to uphold especially given that their closest competitor, Samsung Electronics, gained just 5,837 in comparison to maintain their second place position in the rankings.
The rest of the top 10 is as follows: Canon (3), Intel Corp (4), LG Electronics Inc (5), Qualcomm Inc (6), Google LLC (7), Microsoft (8), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (9) and Samsung Display Co Ltd. (10) . At the other end of the scale, Facebook managed to reach the leaderboard for the first time. It is also worth mentioning globally recognized companies which failed to break into the top 10, such as Apple who maintained their 2016 ranking at 13th and also Amazon, whose voice-based AI innovations and advancements in e-commerce have dominated technology trends as of late, they took the number 13 spot.
IFI also analyzed the top technologies in terms of patent growth, which was e-cigarettes in 2017 with a growth of 45% on the previous year, followed by 3D printing, machine learning and autonomous vehicles (IBM filed the most patents in the latter two categories). As for the leading categories of patents filed, IFI notes that ‘electronic digital data processing,’ (which covers hardware and software methods of data transferral) was the most common sector with a total of 48,935 assigned patents.
It is worth noting that these patents do not necessarily correlate directly with company growth and fortunes as many of those patents which are filed will never reach commercial application, nor is it the same areas which attract the most funding or more of a buzz in the tech-sphere which win the most patents.