Patent data analyst firm “IFI CLAIMS” recently released the list of the 50 largest patent filings in the US for the year 2022, also providing a comprehensive snapshot of the landscape of new technologies and growing trends in the industry.
Firstly, the number of US patent grants fell to its lowest since 2018, despite the number of applications hitting a record high. Although 2022 was the third consecutive year that saw the number of grants decrease (trend that started since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic), the trend seems to be changing direction, with a decrease of only 1% year on year, when in 2021 the decline was 7%. On the point, IFI noted that the decline could be due to the backlog of the USPTO, which faces about 700,000 applications compared to 540,000 in 2018.
As for the ranking of the entities that have seen the highest number of concessions, Samsung – which had been in second place since 2013 – in 2022 undermined IBM that, after being at the top of the list of patents granted in the United States for 29 consecutive years, last year obtained “only” 4,398 patents, against 8,681 in 2021, with a drop of 49%. As reported by IBM itself, the decline is due to a change in strategy: IBM will in fact focus on «hybrid cloud, data and artificial intelligence, automation, security, semiconductors and quantum computing».
The rise of the Korean tech giant is part of a growing trend seen over the past decade, characterized by growing Asian technological innovation. In fact, in the IFI Top 50, Asian companies obtained 14% more patents than companies from Western countries. After Samsung and IBM, the next three largest winners of US patent grants were Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest independent semiconductor manufacturer, followed by Huawei and Canon.
Looking further, as much as 56% of total US patent grants went to foreign companies and, in particular, to Japanese, Chinese and Korean entities, where China’s growth outpaced all other countries, with an annual growth of 19 %. On the other hand, large American companies seem to be lagging behind: Apple obtained 2,285 patents in 2022, down 10% compared to the previous year, and Microsoft saw a 25% drop (1,815 patents against 2,417 in 2021).
As for the fastest growing sector, 2022 saw the triumph of patents related to autonomous vehicles, which had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 64%, with Toyota as world leader in this area. Other notable categories include data processing, drilling technologies for gas, water and oil, as well as technologies related to e-cigarettes.