The number of patents a company files can show both how innovative and protected it is.
Tech companies are being pulled in two different directions — they stock up on patents or give them up in the name of “co-opetition.”
Using IFI Claims, we took a look at the tech companies that filed the most U.S. patents in 2014.
No. 21 Toyota: 1,502 patents. Just recently, Toyota gave away 5,600 of its hydrogen fuel cell patents, similar to what Tesla did. Included in the patents given away for free were patents for the 2016 Toyota Mirai, the company's first fuel cell vehicle.
No. 20 Samsung Display: 1,511 patents. And going strong, as people are saying that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy 6 will have a three-sided touch display interface.
No. 19 Foxconn: 1,537 patents. The Taiwanese electronic-maker known for making Apple's iPhones and Sony's PlayStations is making a push into high-end manufacturing -- it recently patented a solar-power data center container that would benefit any company that runs large data centres.
No. 17 HP: 1,474 patents. We're most interested in their patent entitled 'Predicting Sharing on a Social Network.' Their method supposedly predicts how well a news article will do on social media.
No. 16 Intel: 1,578 patents. One of Intel's most interesting patents allows drivers to access a given number of vehicles without a key. Families that share more than one vehicle would benefit a lot from this invention.
No. 14 Seiko (Epson): 1,662 patents. You know this company for its classic wristwatches in addition to its printers and projectors. They patented the world's first solar-powered watch and seem to have built an advanced printer.
No. 13 Fujitsu: 1,820 patents. It seems like Fujitsu stayed on track with the number of patents it was filing. In 2013, it was the company was 12th on the list.
No. 12 General Electric: 1,860 patents. They plan on building a 125,000 square foot 3-D printing facility in Pennsylvania this year.
No. 11 Apple: 2,003 patents. Examples of their patents include seamless ear pods, a video headset, and a mechanical zoom lens for iPhones.
No. 10 Panasonic: 2,095 patents. They went from having 2,601 patents last year to 2,095 patents, which isn't that bad of a fall considering some of the other companies that fell out of the top 10. They seem to have invented a 'Touch Panel' that improves visibility of touch screens when the backlight is off.
No. 9 LG: 2,122 patents. Just last year, LG struck a deal with Google that gives them access to one another's patents for the next 10 years.
No. 8 Google: 2,566 patents. It's the first year Google has ever been in the top 10. It seems like they're intent on staying, since they recently received patents for a 'fragrance emission device,' as well as for hands-free driving technology.
No. 7 Qualcomm: 2,590 patents. This represents a 23 per cent increase in patents from the year before. They were able to invent a method where a master device could configure with an object device (such as smartphone to smart TV) simply by pointing it and in the right direction.
No. 6 Toshiba: 2,608 patents. Their patents are really diverse, ranging from a biodiversity evaluation chart to semiconductor devices.
No. 5 Microsoft: 2,829 patents. And counting, since we learned last month that they got a patent for an 'inconspicuous mode' for phones to be used in movie theatres, on dates, and any other situation that calls for such a mode.
No. 4 Sony: 3,224 patents. The company is developing a cloud-based television system as well as mobile phone game interface that allows people to control console video games with their phones.
No. 3 Canon: 4,055 patents. This Japanese company is focusing on building devices with multiple touch screens as well as devices with image focus adjustment. Canon has been a top five company for the past 20 years in the number of patents they have filed.
No. 2 Samsung Electronics: 4,952 patents. Outside of the U.S., Samsung and Apple were engaged in a patent war since 2011, when Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung arguing that the iPhone had been copied. Last August, they decided to call a truce in order to shift attention to the new player in the smartphone market -- Xiaomi.
No. 1 IBM: 7,534 patents. For 22 years in a row, IBM has been granted the most patents over any other company. They are the first company in history to receive more than 7,000 patents in one year. In fact, IBM inventors earned an average of over 20 patents a day.
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