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Google Holds 87% More US Utility Patent Grants This Year, and IBM Remains the Global Leader


Exclusive sneak peak at IFI CLAIMS' top global companies ranked by 2012 US patents, through September.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has 87% more utility patent grants in 2012 than in 2011, according to data compiled by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services through September 25. If Google's lead holds through year end, it will move up 41 spots to 24th place on "IFI CLAIMS Top 50 US Patent Assignees for 2012," which will be released in January 2013.

IFI analyzed all data captured through September 25, 2012 exclusively for Minyanville, to provide some broad-brushstroke guidance on what will be new in the the final report.

The company uses proprietary algorithms to analyze US Patent and Trademark Office data on over 2,000 companies. So-called "utility" patents are the most common patent type and a primary means of protecting intellectual property and technological innovation. Utility patents are issued for the invention of a "new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter" according to the US Patent and Trademark Office.

While Google's apparent jump in ranking is not a record, "it is notable," according to an ICI spokesperson. Other companies ahead of where they were last year include Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Ford Global Technologies, a subsidary of Ford (NYSE:F), which IFI estimates will have 2012 patent grants 19% higher than in 2011. Apple moves up 17 places to number 22. Ford moves up 22 places to number 45.

Other upside movers include Hong Fujin Precision Industry and Alcatel Lucent (NYSE:ALU) which both showed 18% growth. Hong Fujin, founded by FOXCONN (HKG:2038) in 1998, moves up 11 places to number 41. France's tech major Alcatel Lucent moves up 19 places to number 49. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) grew patent holdings by 15% and moves up 12 places to 37.

While there is clearly a lot of movement in the spots between 25 and 50, there is less movement at the very top of the list, said IFI. IBM (NYSE:IBM), Samsung (PINK:SSNLF), and Canon (NYSE:CAJ) will likely end up as 1, 2, and 3, respectively again this year. While Samsung and Canon have been shuffling around with Hitachi and others for the number 2 and 3 spots, IBM is poised to hit a milestone record -- 20 years as the number 1 US Utility Patent Holder -- if it keeps on pace this year, according to IFI. In 2010 IBM became the first company to receive more than 5,000 utility patents and the first to receive more than 6,000 in 2011.

According to IFI, the top 10-15 companies are "pretty much unchanged" although the US inclusion has inched up. So far in 2012, three of the top 10 are US companies, versus only two in 2011. In the top 50 companies, 18 are US versus 17 in 2011.

On the downside, the biggest drops were Hynix Semiconductor Inc (PINK:HXSCF) and Infineon Technologies AG (PINK:IFNNY). Hynix 2012 patent grants are down 45% with its rank falling 18 places to number 43. Infineon grants are down 41% with its rank falling 12 places to 56. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE:DD) 2012 grants are down 33% with its rank falling 10 places to number 60.

Click here to see 2011's Top 10 Most Innovative US Companies and the Top 10 Most Innovative Foreign Companies.

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