Former Yahoo engineer Andy Baio is “embarrassed” by the patents filed in his name.
Writing in Wired, he said “I thought I was giving them a shield, but turns out I gave them a missile with my name permanently engraved on it.”
That got us wondering. If patents really are weapons, who’s got the biggest, baddest army in the tech world?
So we went through the U.S Patent Office’s database and ran a search to see how many patents some top tech companies had filed in their name.
It’s not a perfect picture: it doesn’t count patents granted outside the United States, patents gained in acquisitions (like the 17,000 Google will get from Motorola), or patents licensed from other companies. It also says nothing about the quality of those patents. We also focused on big names and surprises — there may be some big patent holders we missed.
But it does have some interesting surprises….