According to IFI Claims, IBM managed to squeeze 5896 patents out of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010, which is a 20% improvement from just 4914 in 2009. Samsung followed in second place with 4551 patents and Microsoft joined the two with 3094 patents. In total, the USPTO approved a total of 219,614 utility patents in 2010. That breaks down to about 601 granted patents per day.
"The tremendous increase in patent issues in 2010 suggests that so far the economy doesn't appear to have slowed patent flow significantly in the U.S.," said IFI's Darlene Slaughter in a prepared statement. "Another important factor is the stepped up effort of the USPTO to improve turnaround times and its five-year strategic plan to increase efficiencies and reduce pendency. The bottom line: There is still a backlog of patents pending but the number of grants continues to grow even after a period of economic downturn."
IFI said that American companies received 50.1% of all granted patents, which is up from 49.0% in 2009. Japan got 21.3%, South Korea 5.4%, Germany 5.2% and Taiwan 3.8% of all patents. It is interesting to see that the pure-play IT companies dominate the patent list. For example, the highest ranked car manufacturer is Honda at #18 with 1050 patents. Appel also ranks relatively low on the list with 563 approved patents at #46.