Samsung Electronics own the most active patent families worldwide, and IBM continues its patent leadership in the U.S., according to data released by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services.
IFI said that U.S. patent filings hit an all-time high in 2019 with 333,530 patents granted, a 15 percent increase from 2018.
The 2019 IFI 250 analysis as of December 31, 2019 places Samsung Electronics in the top slot with 76,638 active patent families, followed by IBM at #2 with 37,304, Canon at #3 with 35,724, GE at #4, and Microsoft at #5. This list measures the size of a patent owner’s global portfolio based on the number of currently-held active patent families.
IFI's ranking aggregates patent families held by a parent company across the entire organization rather than by assignee name. For example, “Samsung Display” is a subsidiary of “Samsung Electronics.”
The IFI Top 50 U.S. patent recipients ranking for calendar year 2019 finds IBM leading the pack as it has for 27 years with 9,262—a 2 percent increase from 2018. Samsung Electronics is #2 with 6,469 U.S. grants—up 11 percent. Canon holds the #3 spot as it did last year, with Microsoft at #4 and Intel Corp. at #5.
The analysis of the patents granted also shows that Facebook won 64% more patents in 2019 than in 2018. Facebook’s total of 989 patents last year was more than triple the amount it received just five years earlier -- it got 279 in 2014.
Facebook, which leaped 22 spots to No. 36 on the list, was awarded more patents in 2019 than technology companies such as Royal Philips NV and Texas Instruments Inc.
Intellectual-property heavyweights Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. were No. 9 and No. 7, respectively. Facebook’s largest numbers were in categories typical of Internet-based computer companies -- data processing and digital transmission, for example -- but its areas of greatest growth were in more novel categories that may suggest where the company sees its future.
Facebook’s 169 patents in the Optical Elements category marked a nearly six-fold jump. Most of that growth stems from the Heads-Up Displays sub-category, which Cady said probably is related to virtual-reality headsets. Facebook owns the VR company Oculus and in November acquired the Prague-based gaming studio behind the popular Beat Saber game.
In other highlights of the Top 50, the U.S. holds a 49 percent share of U.S. patents granted in 2019 up from 46 percent in 2018. A breakdown by country shows 16 percent of 2019 U.S. patents went to Japan, followed by South Korea with nearly 7 percent. China moves up to a 5 percent share to become the #4 country, surpassing Germany for the first time. China shows a nearly 35 percent increase from 2018 and now has two companies in the Top 15.
- Kia Motors – jumps 58 places to #41
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise – jumps 28 places to #48
- Facebook – up 22 places to #36
- Micron Technology – up 9 places to #25
- Huawei – up 6 places to #10
- BOE Technology – up 4 places to #13
- Microsoft – up 3 places to #4
Among the Top 10 Fastest Growing Technologies in terms of U.S. patent growth are CRISPR technology, creating new hybrid plants, dashboards (mostly related to automobiles), 3-D printing, and medicinal preparations (especially cancer therapies).