Google, Apple, Qualcomm shake up patent ranks

IBM dominates the patent world; Google, Apple, Qualcomm make gains

patents

IBM still dominates the patent ranks, but it’s not the only prolific patent producer in the tech world. Qualcomm, Google and Apple have been making strong gains in recent years. See how their patenting efforts compare to those of Microsoft, HP, Cisco and other tech stalwarts.

Also on Network World:

12 jobs getting the biggest raises in 2014

Inside CIO paychecks

Total patents

Total patents

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued 277,835 utility patents in 2013, an increase of 10% over 2012 and the most issued in a single year.

Big Blue dominates

Big Blue dominates

IBM retained its patent crown in 2013, snaring more U.S. patents than any other company for the 21st year in a row. IBM was awarded 6,809 utility patents last year, according to data from IFI Claims Patent Services. That record-setting haul is up 5% compared to 2012, when Big Blue earned 6,478 patents.

Microsoft breaks into top 5

Microsoft breaks into top 5

Still a patenting powerhouse, Microsoft earned 47 more patents in 2013 than it did in 2012, and that was enough to bump the company up a notch in IFI’s rankings. With 2,660 patents, Microsoft moved up to No. 5 from No. 6.

Qualcomm debuts in top 10

Qualcomm debuts in top 10

Qualcomm made big gains in patent awards, rising to No. 9 on IFI’s list in 2013 from No. 17 in 2012. Its patent grants spiked 62% last year, for a total of 2,103.

Google amps up patent production

Google amps up patent production

Google quickened its patent pace and climbed to No. 11 in IFI’s rankings. In 2012, Google made its first appearance in the top 50 at No. 21, edging out Apple by just 15 patents. In 2013, Google beat Apple for the second year in a row, earning 1,851 patents to Apple’s 1,775.

Apple stays on Google’s heels

Apple stays on Google’s heels

Apple -- which made its first appearance in IFI’s top 50 in 2010 -- continues to move up the rankings. Like Google, it broke into the top 20 for the first time in 2013, when it ranked No. 13 with 1,775 patent grants. 

Intel holds steady at No. 18

Intel holds steady at No. 18

Intel and HP were longtime Silicon Valley patent leaders, according to IFI, but for the first time in 2013, both ranked below relative newcomers in the patent world, Google and Apple. Intel grew its patent count in 2013, but its rank -- 18 -- remained the same as it was in 2012. With 1,455 patents granted, Intel surpassed HP.

HP hangs onto top 20 status

HP hangs onto top 20 status

HP earned 1,360 patents in 2013 and fell to No. 19 in the rankings; a year earlier, HP earned 1,394 patents and held the No. 15 position.

Cisco slides in patent rankings

Cisco slides in patent rankings

Cisco fell in the rankings from No. 31 in 2012 to No. 40 in 2013, and its patent grants declined by 7%. Among other network equipment manufacturers, China’s Huawei grew its patent grants by 28% and just missed making the top 50 (it’s No. 51, according to IFI). Alcatel-Lucent fell from No. 49 in 2012 to No. 54 in 2013.

BlackBerry stays in patent race

BlackBerry stays in patent race

BlackBerry increased patent production by 35% in 2013 and jumped nine places in the rankings to No. 20 with 1,334 patents earned.