IBM has been granted the most U.S. patents in a year for the 29th year in a row. According to data from the IFI Claims Patent Services, the IT giant based out of Armonk, New York, was assigned 8,682 patents in 2021. As our chart shows, this specific lead in innovation isn't likely to shrink anytime soon.
Coming in second is Samsung, more specifically its dedicated electronics branch, with 6,366 patents, followed by optical and imaging product manufacturer Canon with 3,021 patents. Surprisingly, Silicon Valley is largely absent from the top 8. Out of the five GAFAM companies, only Apple makes the cut with 2,541 patents, moving up one rank compared to 2020, with Microsoft, Amazon and Google following on ranks 9, 14 and 18, respectively.
Overall, U.S.-based companies were awarded 150,801 grants by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, making up more than half of all grants awarded in the United States. As is to be expected with the digital-first trajectory of current innovation, patent applications in the data and machine learning sectors showed the highest year-over-year growth. Applications in the latter area rose by 24 percent compared to 2020, followed by a 10 percent increase in applications for technology surrounding recognition and presentation of data as well as record carriers and handling record carriers.