The 15 Most Innovative Companies Of All Time

DynatacMotorola was granted a patent for a portable mobile phone in 1973

Photo: Motorla

U.S tech companies have been the driving forces behind innovation in America for over two hundred years.Together IBM and General Electric have filed over 1.5 million patents, 60 times the number filed by the U.S. government.

Abroad there’s a similar story. While IBM and GE rank first and third for patents filed, Japanese corporations like Canon, Hitachi and Mitsubishi make up the rest of the top 10.

Breakthrough patents improve the world and earn billions of dollars for these companies.

#15 Intel

Patents filed in America: 19,539

Patents granted in 2010:1,652 (#8)

Some of Intel's inventions include the first single chip microprocessor, one of the firsts microcomputers, dynamic random access memory chips and the supercomputers.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#14 Motorola

Patents filed in America: 20,069

Patents granted in 2010: 395 (#64)

Motorola's most famous inventions include the world's first commercial portable cellular phone, the portable transistor radio, the portable television, and car telephones.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#13 Siemens

Patents filed in America: 21,628

Patents granted in 2010: 861 (#24)

Some of Siemens' inventions include the first electric streetcar, the dust-suction pump, the rolling mill motor, the first cardiac pacemaker, and the shirt ironing machine.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#12 Mitsubishi

Patents filed in America: 22,397

Patents granted in 2010: 692 (#37)

Some of Mitsubishi's inventions include the first rear-projection TV, a blow-by-gas reduction device, PBS trim plastic, and the jet towel.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#11 Kodak

Patents filed in America: 22,506

Patents granted in 2010: 352 (#73)

Some of Kodak's inventions include the first commercial transparent roll of film, the brownie cameras --the first series of inexpensive cameras, pocket-sized digital cameras, and film that could be developed without the use of a dark room.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#10 Fujitsu

Patents filed in America: 23,049

Patents granted in 2010:1,276 (#13)

Some of Fujitsu's inventions include Japan's first submarine coaxial cable system, the first 42-inch colour plasma display, biodegradable plastic in notebook computers and the FACOM 230-60, a computer developed in 1968 with a multiprocessor system.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#9 NEC Corp.

Patents filed in America: 23,932

Patents granted in 2010: 652 (#53)

Some of NEC's inventions include the common battery switchboard, chips that enable mobile phones as music players, the first digital signal processor and the microcomputer.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#8 Matsushita

Patents filed in America: 26,967

Patents granted in 2010: 13 (NA)

Matsushita's most famous inventions include the super electric iron, the double outlet plug, the electric blender, the tape recorder, and the electric refrigerator.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#7 Sony

Patents filed in America: 27,211

Patents granted in 2010: 2,130 (#7)

Some of Sony's inventions include the Walkman, the first portable CD player, the first non-projection portable transistor TV, and Japan's first transistor radio and magnetic recording tape.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#6 Samsung

Patents filed in America: 31,156

Patents granted in 2010: 4,518 (#2)

Some of Samsung's inventions include the first microwave oven, the first 8mm VCR, the 1Giga Flash memory prototype, and first mobile phone that doubles as an MP3 player.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#5 Toshiba

Patents filed in America: 32,793

Patents granted in 2010: 2,212 (#6)

Toshiba's most famous inventions include Japan's first electric washing machines and vacuum cleaners, the first colour video phone, and the first laptop personal computer.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#4 Hitachi

Patents granted since 1963: 34,554

Patents granted in 2010: 1,447 (#11)

Some of Hitachis' inventions include the five-horsepower motor, the first large-scale DC electric locomotive, the smallest contactless chip, and an interactive robot that can serve as a tour guide.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#3 General Electric

Patents filed in America: 37,268

Patents granted in 2010: 1,222 (#14)

Some of GE's inventions include the carbon filament lamp, the X-ray machine, the electric fan, the first sealed fridge, the portable air-conditioner and the digital clock radio.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office


Patents filed in America: 41,268

Patents granted in 2010: 2,551 (#4)

Canon's most famous inventions include the IVSB camera --the first marketed in the US, the 10-key electronic calculator, the first automatics exposure SLR, and personal copiers.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

#1 IBM

Patents filed in America: 67,199

Patents granted in 2010: 5,866 (#1)

IBM's most famous inventions include the magnetic stripe technology (like the one on credit cards), the computing scale, the universal product code (or barcode), and automated test scoring.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

Want to see the faces behind the products?

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.