Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Foreign Applicants Majority For 2nd Straight Year; IBM Approaches 5K Patents for 2009

IFI Patent Intelligence released their 2009 patent report, where the company found that U.S. corporations received 49 percent of all U.S. utility patents issued in 2009 with the remainder going to foreign firms. This is the second year in a row that foreign companies collectively received more U.S. patents than U.S.-based firms.

Despite this, U.S. companies received approximately 7 percent more utility patents in 2009 than in 2008, while foreign companies received approximately 6.5 percent .  Also, the U.S. received more than twice as many corporate patents than Japan (23%), the country with the second most U.S. patents issued in 2009. South Korea (5.6%) moved into third place displacing Germany (5.2%) for the first time.

Despite the doom-and-gloom over 2009, IFI's data shows that the USPTO issued a total of 167,350 utility patents in calendar year 2009, up 6.1% over 2008, and approaching the all-time high of 173,772 set in 2006. However, it is worth noting that the USPTO posted a 1.8 percent decrease in patent applications for its fiscal year 2009 for a total of 457,966, the first annual decrease in applications since fiscal year 1996. As a result, this decrease could translate into fewer patent issues in the coming two or three years.

Market sectors with the heaviest new patent activity include Multiplex Communications (US class 370) and Semiconductors (US classes 438 and 257), representing almost 15,000 patents total for 2009. The bio sectors of Drug Compositions (US class 514) had 3,474 patents and Biotechnology (US class 435) had over 2,700 patents issued, up 17 percent and 1 percent respectively over the previous year.

Also, despite the recession, some U.S. companies posted significant increases in issued patents for 2009, including:

GM Global (+68%)
Microsoft (+43%)
Cisco (+30%)
Boeing (+26%)
Xerox (+18%)
IBM (+17%)
Broadcom (+11%)
Sun (+10%)
General Electric (+7%)
Honeywell (+6%)
The Top 25 Patent Recipients for 2009 include:
(1) IBM (US) - 4,914
(2) Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KR) - 3,611
(3) Microsoft (US) - 2,906
(4) Canon KK (JP) - 2,206
(5) Panasonic Corp. (JP) - 1,829
(6) Toshiba Corp. (JP) - 1,696
(7) Sony Corp. (JP) - 1,680
(8) Intel Corp. (US) - 1,537
(9) Seiko Epson Corp. (JP) - 1,330
(10) Hewlett-Packard (US) - 1,273
(11) Fujitsu Ltd. (JP) - 1,220
(12) LG Electronics (KR) - 1,065
(13) Hitachi Ltd. (JP) - 1,058
(14) Hon Hai Precision Industry (TW) - 995
(15) Ricoh Co. Ltd. (JP) - 988
(16) General Electric Co. - 979
(17) Micron Technology (US) - 966
(18) Cisco Technology (US) - 913
(19) Fujifilm Corp (JP) - 880
(20) Honda Motor Corp (JP) - 774
(21) Denso Corp (JP) - 745
(22) Siemens AG (DE) - 716
(23) Broadcaom Corp. (US) - 714
(24) Sharp KK (JP) - 657
(25) Honeywell Int'l (US) - 655
To view a listing of the top-50 patent recipients, see here (link)

Read:

PR Newswire "American Companies Capture Less than Majority of 2009 U.S. Patent Pool" (link)

Network World, "IBM still leads in patents, Microsoft maintains No. 3 spot and Cisco gains 30%" (link)

Visit IFI's website here (link)

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