These days, when people think of innovative companies, the ones that come to mind first are the ones dominating the headlines: companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon for example. However, there is one company that, year after year, tops the ranking of U.S. patent assignees: IBM. 2016 marked the 24th consecutive year in which IBM was granted more patents in the U.S. than any other company, according to IFI CLAIMS. In fact, it was a record-breaking year even by IBM’s standards, as the company became the first ever to surpass 8,000 patents in a single year. IBM was granted a total of 8,088 patents for inventions in fields ranging from artificial intelligence and cognitive computing to cloud technologies and cyber security.
The rest of the Top 10 is largely made up of the usual suspects as U.S. tech giants such as Microsoft, Intel and Google stand alongside international electronics heavyweights such as Sony, Samsung and LG. One company that is notably absent from the Top 10 is Apple. The Cupertino-based company, often considered one of the most innovative powers in the world, is ranked 11th, 79 patents short of tying Sony for 10th place. Ranked 14th, Amazon was one of the big movers this year. The e-commerce giant’s big investment in new technologies is showing, as the company was granted 526 more patents last year compared to 2015.