Most Inventive Companies of 2016 Based on Patent Activity

For the past couple of years we’ve been collecting and indexing US patent data to be used by journalists, business intelligence, financial services and other information professionals. We published our first annual list last year, and below is our second annual ranking of the top 40 companies granted the most utility (invention) patents in 2016, as well as design patents, and utility patent applications (pre-grant publications).

Unlike last year where we compiled the list in December, this year’s lists include all publications in 2016.

Sqoop’s methodology remains different from the popular lists published by IFI Claims, a patent service offered by Fairview Research; as well as the reports by the United States Patent and Trademark Office itself, which are commonly delayed by 6 months. All these reports, including Sqoop, first have the task of collecting counts for companies given a wide variety of capitalization, abbreviation, punctuation, and in some cases (mis-)spellings of the applicants and assignees fields of the publications. The USPTO does not publish a well controlled company ID for this purpose, like for example the SEC’s CIK code. The other reports generally stop here. Sqoop goes further by combining subsidiaries for the top ranks under a common parent. So for example, Google Technology Holdings LLC. is included with Google Inc. for Google’s 2016 grants. Microsoft similarly includes Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC. A notable and symbolic result is that while longtime patent leader IBM applies for patents as a single company, Samsung applies under a large number of subsidiaries. When these subsidiaries are combined however, Samsung has displaced IBM with the top ranking for the last two years running.

We think our method is both fair and more correct, and we’re not alone: Stanford University Professor Mark Lameley, Director of the Law, Science and Technology program was quoted last year: “subsidiaries should definitely be included in the rankings. Otherwise you’re counting apples and oranges.”

In that same article, Jack Russo, managing partner at ComputerLaw Group, agreed: “…if subsidiaries do not count for one party, then subsidiaries should not count for another party.”

This year’s list of top grant recipients is similar to last years, with some notable changes:

For utility applications, it’s important to understand these are pre-grant publications by the USPTO, typically 18 months after they are submitted, but before a grant is awarded, on average at 3 years. Some applications are not published, skipping straight to the grant. At best, this is only a very rough indication of what grants could be made in the next few years.

The list contains many familiar companies found in the grants table. Notable additions to the top 40 are United Technologies, Shenzhen China Star Optoelectronics, and Halliburton.

Design patents sees a notable increase in consumer packaged goods companies and brands like Nike, Jaguar, P&G, 3M, Daimler, Porsche, Target, and Colgate-Palmolive.

Utility Patent Grants (B1, B2)

     
1 Samsung1 8,551
2 International Business Machines Corporation 8,062
3 LG2 4,102
4 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha 3,673
5 Google3 3,210
6 Intel4 3,068
7 Qualcomm5 3,018
8 Sony6 2,653
9 Toshiba7 2,536
10 Microsoft8 2,389
11 Taiwan-Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. 2,268
12 Apple Inc. 2,115
13 Panasonic9 1,998
14 Amazon.com, Inc. 1,659
15 Seiko Epson Corporation 1,650
16 General Electric Company 1,642
17 Fujitsu Limited 1,582
18 Ford Global Technologies,LLC 1,503
19 Toyota-Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha 1,424
20 Ricoh Company,Ltd. 1,414
21 GlobalFoundries, Inc. 1,388
22 AT&T10 1,239
23 Robert Bosch GmbH 1,208
24 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. 1,206
25 SK Hynix Inc. 1,108
26 GM Global Technology Operations LLC. 1,103
27 Hewlett-Packard11 1,093
28 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. 1,082
29 The Boeing Company 1,049
30 Hyundai Motor Company 1,034
31 Mitsubishi Electric Corporation 1,014
32 Koninklijke Philips N.V. 1,006
33 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft 977
34 Cisco Technology, Inc. 968
35 Brother Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha 962
36 Honda Motor Co., Ltd. 922
37 NEC Corporation 895
38 Texas Instruments Incorporated 882
39 Boe Technology Group Co., Ltd. 870
40 Micron Technology, Inc. 861

Utility Patent Applications (A1)

     
1 Samsung12 10,695
2 International Business Machines Corporation 8,800
3 LG13 4,421
4 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha 3,562
5 Toshiba14 3,289
6 Qualcomm15 3,057
7 Intel16 2,900
8 Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha 2,683
9 Microsoft17 2,638
10 Sony18 2,398
11 Boe Technology Group Co., Ltd. 2,263
12 Apple Inc. 2,255
13 General Electric Company 2,118
14 Panasonic19 2,086
15 Huawei Technologies Co.,Ltd. 2,033
16 Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd. 1,927
17 Google20 1,905
18 Hyundai Motor Company 1,836
19 Seiko Epson Corporation 1,824
20 Ford Global Technologies, LLC. 1,727
21 United Technologies Corporation 1,724
22 Fujitsu Limited 1,714
23 Hewlett-Packard21 1,316
24 Koninklijke Philips N.V. 1,295
25 AT&T22 1,269
26 Telefonaktiebolaget L.M. Ericsson (publ) 1,259
27 The Boeing Company 1,217
28 Mitsubishi Electric Corporation 1,153
29 Robert Bosch GmbH 1,126
30 Halliburton Energy Services,Inc. 1,121
31 Fujifilm Corporation 1,021
32 GM Global Technology Operations LLC. 1,018
33 Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. 1,008
34 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft 1,006
35 Denso Corporation 1,004
36 Shenzhen China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. 997
37 SK Hynix Inc. 958
38 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co.,Ltd. 934
39 Honeywell International Inc. 930
40 Honda Motor Co., Ltd. 905

Design Patents (S1)

     
1 Samsung23 1,629
2 Microsoft24 539
3 LG25 474
4 Apple Inc. 433
5 NIKE, Inc. 275
6 Google Inc. 179
7 Ford Motor Company 146
8 Honda Motor Co., Ltd. 116
9 Jaguar Land Rover Limited 115
10 Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Company Limited 113
11 The Procter & Gamble Company 108
12 3M Innovative Properties Company 100
13 Koninklijke Philips N.V. 95
14 Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft 89
15 Kohler Co. 89
16 Daimler AG 85
17 Whirlpool Corporation 82
18 The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company 80
19 Robert Bosch GmbH 77
20 Sony26 72
21 GM Global Technology Operations LLC 70
22 Mitsubishi Electric Corporation 69
23 Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. 68
24 Target Brands, Inc. 67
25 DELTA FAUCET COMPANY 66
26 Colgate-Palmolive Company 65
27 BRIDGESTONE CORPORATION 64
28 Spectrum Diversified Designs, LLC 64
29 Caterpillar Inc. 61
30 Dyson Technology Limited 59
31 Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd. 57
32 HARRY WINSTON SA 56
33 Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche Aktiengesellschaft 53
34 Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha 51
35 Hansgrohe SE 50
36 General Electric Company 50
37 Karl Storz GmbH & Co. KG 50
38 Toshiba27 49
39 Intel Corporation 48
40 Hewlett-Packard28 43
  1. Includes Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Samsung Display Co., Ltd.; Samsung SDI Co., Ltd.; Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., Ltd.; Samsung Medison Co., Ltd.; Samsung SDS Co., Ltd.; Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation; Samsung Heavy Ind. Co., Ltd.

  2. Includes LG Electronics Inc.; LG Display Co., Ltd.; LG Chem, Ltd.; LG Innotek Co., Ltd.; LG Hausys, Ltd.; LG CNS Co., Ltd.; LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc.; LG Siltron Inc.

  3. Includes Google Inc.; Google Technology Holdings LLC.

  4. Includes Intel Corporation; Intel IP Corporation; Intel Deutschland GmbH.

  5. Includes Qualcomm Inc.; Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.; Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.; Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc.; Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc.; Qualcomm Switch Corp.

  6. Includes Sony Corporation; Sony Mobile Communications Inc.; Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.; Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.; Sony Interactive Entertainment America LLC; Sony Mobile Communications AB; Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited; Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation; Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC; Sony Electronics Inc.; Sony Europe Limited; Sony Network Entertainment International LLC; Sony Deutschland GmbH; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc; Sony Pictures Technologies, Inc.

  7. Includes Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba; Toshiba Tec Kabushiki Kaisha; Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation; Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corporation; Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation; Toshiba Materials Co., Ltd.; Toshiba Kikai Kabushiki Kaisha; Toshiba Corporation; Toshiba Solutions Corporation; Schneider Toshiba Inverter Europe SAS; Toshiba Electron Tubes & Devices Co., Ltd.; Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions Holdings Corporation.

  8. Includes Microsoft Technology Licensing,LLC; Microsoft Corporation.

  9. Includes Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd.; Panasonic Intellectual Property Corporation Of America; Panasonic Corporation; Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display Co., Ltd.; Panasonic Healthcare Holdings Co., Ltd.; Panasonic Avionics Corporation; Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America, Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America; Skyworks Panasonic Filter Solutions Japan Co., Ltd.; Panasonic Ecology Systems Guangdong Co., Ltd.

  10. Includes AT&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.; AT&T Mobility II LLC; AT&T Intellectual Property II, L.P.

  11. Includes Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.; Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Development LP; Hewlett-Packard Indigo B.V.; Hewlett-Packard Industrial Printing Ltd.

  12. Includes Samsung Electronics Co.,Ltd.; Samsung Medison Co., Ltd.; Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation; Samsung Display Co., Ltd.; Samsung Fine Chemicals Co., Ltd.; Samsung SDI Co., Ltd.; Samsung-Electro-Mechanics Co., Ltd.; Samsung Eletrônica da Amazônia Ltda.; Samsung SDS Co., Ltd.; Samsung Pay, Inc.; Samsung Electronic Co., Ltd.

  13. Includes LG Electronics Inc.; LG Chem, Ltd.; LG Hausys, Ltd.; LG Innotek Co., Ltd.; LG Display Co., Ltd.; LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc.; LG Household & Health Care Ltd.; LG Siltron Inc.; LG CNS Co., Ltd.; LG Life Sciences, Ltd.; LG Electronics Inc.

  14. Includes Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba; Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation; Toshiba Kikai Kabushiki Kaisha; Toshiba Tec Kabushiki Kaisha; Toshiba Lifestyle Products & Services Corporation; Toshiba Solutions Corporation; Toshiba Hokuto Electronics Corporation; Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation; Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions Holdings Corporation; Toshiba Electron Tubes & Devices Co., Ltd.; Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corporation; Toshiba Materials Co., Ltd.; Toshiba Corporation; Toshiba Industrial Products and Systems Corporation.

  15. Includes Qualcomm Inc.; Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc.; Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.; Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc.; Qualcomm Switch Corp.; Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

  16. Includes Intel Corporation; Intel IP Corporation; Intel Deutschland GmbH; Intel Mobile Communications GmbH.

  17. Includes Microsoft Corporation; Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC.; Microsoft Technology Licensing.

  18. Includes Sony Corporation; Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.; Sony Corporation of America; Sony Electronics Inc.; Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC; Sony Mobile Communications Inc.; Sony Network Entertainment International LLC; Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Sony Europe Limited; Sony Mobile Communications AB; Sony Olympus Medical Solutions Inc.; Sony Interactive Entertainment America LLC; Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.

  19. Includes Panasonic Corporation; Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co.,Ltd; Panasonic Corporation of North America; Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America, Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America; Panasonic Intellectual Property Corporation of America; Skyworks Panasonic Filter Solutions Japan Co., Ltd.; Panasonic Healthcare Holdings Co., Ltd.; Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display Co., Ltd.; Panasonic Avionics Corporation; Panasonic Ecology Systems Guangdong Co., Ltd.

  20. Includes Google Inc.; Google Technology Holdings LLC.

  21. Includes Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.; Hewlett-Packard Development Company; Hewlett-Packard Industrial Printing Ltd.; Hewlett-Packard Indigo, B.V.; Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Development LP.

  22. Includes AT&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.; AT&T Intellectual Property II, L.P.; AT&T Mobility II LLC; AT&T Intellectual Property l, L.P.

  23. Includes Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Samsung Display Co., Ltd.

  24. Includes Microsoft Corporation; Microsoft Mobile Oy.

  25. Includes LG Electronics Inc.; LG Chem, Ltd.

  26. Includes Sony Corporation; Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.; Sony Mobile Communications AB.

  27. Includes Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba; Toshiba Electron Tubes & Devices Co., Ltd.; Toshiba Tec Kabushiki Kaisha; Schneider Toshiba Inverter Europe SAS.

  28. Includes Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP.