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IBM leads in patent wars; Google, Apple ranks climb

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Google? Apple? IBM? Samsung? patent?

The latest ranking of patent wins has revealed IBM as the reigning leader for the 22nd time with 7,534 patents, increasing its lead over second-place Samsung, which was up 5.9 per cent with 4,952. Big Blue saw its number of grants jump 10.6 per cent after five per cent increases the past two years.

Among the top winners of US patents in 2014, Google cracked the top 10 for the first time, hitting No. 8 with 2,566 patents, up a whopping 38.6 per cent from last year. Archrival Apple won 2,003 patents, up 12.8 per cent to 11th place, just 92 patents behind Panasonic, which fell for the second consecutive year.

The latest stats show intellectual property continues to be a numbers game.

The US patent office granted a recorded 300,674 patents last year, up eight per cent, with most of the top 50 winners increasing their annual awards, according to figures compiled by IFI Claims Patent Services, a division of Fairview Research of Madison, Conn. However, the rate of growth of patent awards has been declining from a high of about 30 per cent in 2010 to 12.8 per cent in 2012 and 9.7 per cent in 2013.

"The centrepiece of our invention process is our internally developed Worldwide Patent Tracking System that has been refined over the years and helps our global IP law team to manage, maintain and grow our patent portfolio in accordance with the company's current and future business needs," said an IBM spokesman.

More than 3,000 of the new IBM patents, 40 per cent of its 2014 total, are in hot areas such as cloud computing, analytics, mobile, social and security, IBM said. Over the past five years, IBM more than doubled its annual output of patents in these areas.

IBM's wins come at a time when it aims to shed as many as 10,000 of its semiconductor patents to GlobalFoundries along with $1.3 billion in cash to take over its chipmaking operations.

Increase in mobile and China players

Some of the biggest leaps in 2014 were for mobile companies such as Apple, Google and Qualcomm, which jumped to No. 7 with 2,590 patents, up 23 per cent after a 62 per cent jump the prior year. The gains come at a time when the mobile patent wars are cooling down.

"Patent cases per se have been wildly unsuccessful," said Florian Mueller, a blogger who followed the mobile patent wars closely but is now spending more time as an app developer.

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