IBM scores most patents in 2016, Apple just misses top 10

The five companies that earned the most U.S. patents last year are the same five companies that dominated the 2015 ranking of top patent recipients: IBM, Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm and Google.

IBM earned the No. 1 slot for the 24th consecutive year with 8,088 patents granted to its inventors in 2016. Samsung, again ranked second, earned 5,518 patents, and Canon came away with 3,665. Rounding out the Top 5 just as they did in 2015 are Qualcomm with 2,897 patents and Google with 2,835 patents.

Overall, 2016 saw 304,126 utility patent grants, which is the most on record in a single year, according to data compiled by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services.  IFI, which specializes in patent analysis, tracks utility patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and each year it releases its annual ranking of the top 50 recipients.

Sixth-ranked Intel boosted its patent tally by 36% last year and came away with 2,784 patents. Microsoft wasn’t far behind at No. 8 with 2,398 patents, a gain of 22% compared to its 2015 patent haul.

Apple held its No. 11 ranking and saw an 8% increase in grants, which brought it to 2,102 patents. Cisco climbed two spots on the ranking to No. 34, earning 978 patents last year compared to 960 in 2015.

Big patent gainers in 2016 include Nokia, which earned 695 patents, a gain of 74% compared to a year ago; Huawei Technologies, which grew its patent numbers by 50% to 1,202; and Amazon, which earned 1,662 patents for a gain of 46%.

The largest gain, percentage-wise, went to GlobalFountries, which earned 1,407 patents in 2016 compared to 609 patents in 2015 – a spike of 131%. GlobalFoundries gained patent momentum from recent IBM semiconductor acquisitions, according to IFI CLAIMS.

Here are the Top 50 patent assignees in 2016, as calculated by IFI CLAIMS.

IFI CLAIMS makes available its full list of the top 1,000 patent recipients; free registration is required. 

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