17th jan, 2010

Quality over Quantity in US patents

Business week together with Ocean Tomo have analyzed which of the 1000 biggest companies (by revenue) has the most valuable patent portfolio. The result supports the theory that it’s not the size of the portfolio that matters but the quality of the patents granted. 

IBM is the world’s most patent active company with 4914 patents granted in 2009. 

The top 10 most active companies are: (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
 

However the study made by Ocean Tomo shows a different story. They used patenting trends, citing statistics and litigation rates to calculate the value. The result is a widely different picture where Microsoft is on the top of the heap and Rioch and Hitatchii moves into the top 10 from lower spots. 

(1)  MICROSOFT – Patent value: 185,004
(2)  SAMSUNG – Patent value: 128,727
(3)  CANON – Patent value: 109,650
(4)  HEWLETT-PACKARD – Patent value: 101,502
(5)  INTEL – Patent value: 96,610
(6)  HITACHI – Patent value: 70,450
(7)  RICOH – Patent value: 57,501
(8)  IBM – Patent value: 57,414
(9)  PANASONIC – Patent value: 51,577
(10)  SEIKO EPSON – Patent value: 49,573
 

The numbers show that Microsoft and Samsung not only take out a lot of patents, they also take out the right patents. This would indicate that IBM could save a lot of money on patent applications if they were more conservative in their approach. Ocean Tomo points to the large number of service patents as one of the things feeding the heap of IBM patents. 

Via the 271 Patent Blog 

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