About This Statistic
This statistic shows a ranking of companies according to how many patents had been assigned to them as of the end of 2016. IBM had 8,088 patents assigned to them at this time. IBM has held the first position in patent grants 24 years in a row. Patents grant exclusionary rights to an invention - a product or process that is a solution to a specific technological problem. They can be seen as an indicator of innovation, to track rates of technological change or progress, or monitor the health of research and development. Where specific patents are linked to businesses, they can occasionally be used as a barometer for judging the current or future direction of a business's interests.