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Samsung Electronics overtakes IBM for top spot in US patent portfolio

Samsung Electronics has overtaken IBM as the holder of the most US patents as of the start of this year, data showed Sunday.

The South Korean tech firm owned 75,596 US patents, outdoing the No. 2 IBM by nearly 1.6 times, as of Jan. 1, according to the top 100 list drawn up jointly by the journal IAM and intellectual property big data analysis company ktMINE. 

IBM, which had ranked at the top for the past 25 years, held 46,443 patents.


"South Korea's Samsung takes the top spot and probably will for the foreseeable future," the analysis report said. "Even though IBM continually outfiles other companies, its assets are also ageing; in addition, it is known for abandoning a number of its patents relatively early in their lifetimes."

"As (IBM's) assets grow older, it will have to innovate more (or acquire more patent assets) to keep pace," the report added.

Japan's Canon came in third with 38,996 patents, followed by Microsoft with 33,327. Intel ranked fifth with 30,985.

Another South Korean tech firm, LG Electronics, settled at seventh place with 28,235.

Other South Korean names included SK Group at 56th, LG Display at 65th, and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute at 82nd.

US companies accounted for 45 of the top 100, with European firms claiming 14 spots. Two Chinese companies, Huawei at 61st and Lenovo at 93rd, were ranked. (Yonhap)