IBM leads 2006 patent list

Wilmington (DE) - The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reported a new record of patents granted in 2006. 173,772 patents were issued during the time frame. IBM continued to lead the list for a 14th consecutive year : The company received a total of 3651 new patents.

The number of patents issued translates into a 20.8% increase over 2005 and an average of 476 recognized inventions every day, according to IFI Claims Patent Services. Top honors went again, as in the past 13 years, to IBM, which claimed 3651 new patents, compared to 2941 in 2005 and 3248 in 2004. Samsung follows in second place with 2453 patents, Canon is third with 2378. The next U.S. company is Hewlett-Packard in position 5 (2113 patents) and is preceded by Matsushita (Panasonic, 2273).

Other notable U.S. entries are Intel in position 6 (1962), Micron in 10 (1612), Microsoft in 12 (1463), General Electric in 14 (1051), Texas Instruments in 18 (884) and Sun in 21 (776). The top-25 list dominated by Japanese and U.S. firms with twelve and eight entries, respectively. In the country ranking, Korea (Samsung, LG) and Germany (Infineon, Siemens) follows with two entries each. The Netherlands has one listing (Philips).

"2006 panned out as a banner year in terms of the number of individual patents granted and leads us to believe that the USPTO is making headway in addressing its backlog of patent applications," said Darlene Slaughter, general manager of IFI Patent Intelligence. "Although the number of patents being granted is not the only gauge of technological advancement, the relative increase in number of patents being generated indicates a growing emphasis on the value of intellectual property," she said.

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