Tallahassee Journal

The most innovative companies

The most innovative companies

The number of patent grants awarded in the United States fell in 2015 for the first time since 2007. In all, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted 298,407 patents for intellectual property, down from just over 300,000 in 2014. To identify the 25 most innovative companies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the companies with the 1,000 highest total number of U.S. Patent and Trademark Offices grants in 2015 from IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. IFI produces these data based on the entity listed as holding the patent.

In order to arrive at a figure that more closely reflects a company’s total, 24/7 Wall St. combined the grants awarded to the company and its subsidiaries. It is important to note that while IFI CLAIMS Patent Services provided the data on USPTO grants, the aggregation of multiple entities under the same parent corporation is 24/7 Wall St.’s work alone. This number is an estimate only, as it excludes any patent-holding subsidiaries of a company that do not share the company’s name, and does not include companies outside of the top 1,000 patent grantees.

According to a 24/7 Wall St. analysis of data provided by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics passed 2014 leader IBM by being granted the most patents in 2015. Including Samsung’s subsidiaries, the company was awarded more than 8,000 patents last year, while IBM was awarded 7,355. These companies and others spend hundreds of millions, and often billions of dollars, to discover the next big thing and gain an advantage over competitors. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the most innovative companies.

The decision of how much to spend on developing new technology can be a difficult one for companies. Such a decision entails spending money in the immediate future to fund potential revenue streams down the road. IBM spent $5.7 billion on (R&D) in fiscal 2013. The following year, IBM’s R&D spending declined to approximately $5.4 billion, or about 6% of total revenue on R&D. Given that American corporations — particularly tech companies — appear to be in a relatively strong financial position, this decline in awarded patents may be surprising.

Speaking with 24/7 Wall St., Larry Cady, senior patent analyst at IFI, explained that while the economy has rebounded and many of the industries that tend to apply for patents are doing well, the recovery has been uneven. Cady noted that while the economy appears to be doing well, “There’s probably a little bit of pressure to keep the balance sheet looking good, and so there might actually be pressure to reduce R&D spending” Cady said.

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