The top ten USPTO utility patent assignees in 2012

IFI Claims has compiled a list of the most prolific patent organizations in 2012, and, no surprise, IBM again holds the top spot, as it has for 20 years running. Using source data from the USPTO, here were the top ten utility patent assignees in 2012:

IBM                                    6,478

Samsung Electronics       5,081

Canon                                3,174

Sony Corp                        3,032

Panasonic                         2,769

Microsoft Corp                2,613

Toshiba                            2,447

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.   2,013

General Electric                  1,652

LG Electronics                    1,624

Google and Apple fought it out for 20th and 21st place, each with just over 1,100 utility patents granted; however, it is significant that Google showed the highest year-over-year increase (170%), and Apple was second with 68%. Recall that prior to the smartphone patent wars, Apple’s emphasis was on design patents.

Total utility patents issued by USPTO in 2012 were 253,155 (an increase of 13%), the highest level on record.