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Blue giant IBM lost its U.S. patent supremacy in 2022, the first time in decades that the company has lost the crown and marking a strategic shift for the patent giant. Previously, IBM had held the top spot in the U.S. patent rankings for 29 consecutive years.

According to the “Top 300 Patents” list compiled by Harrity Patent Analytics, IBM was awarded 4,743 U.S. utility patents in 2022, a 44 percent decline from the previous year, surpassed by Samsung Electronics 8,513. All major types of patents issued to IBM declined, but the largest declines were in technologies such as semiconductors and storage.

In an interview, Dario Gil, dean of IBM Research, said the decline reflects the company’s strategic shift beginning in 2020 to focus its intellectual property portfolio on IBM’s core businesses and to free engineers from the time-consuming patent process. “We’ve decided to move away from pursuing leadership in patent numbers, but remain an IP giant and continue to have one of the strongest portfolios in the world in our priority development technologies,” He said.

Huawei and BOE entered the top ten list

IBM has long prided itself on its patent leadership. IBM says it has received the highest number of patents over the past 29 years. Also, intellectual property licensing and development is lucrative. IBM has generated more than $27 billion in intellectual property revenue since 1996, documents show. However, growth in that revenue has slowed in recent years as some companies have refused to pay licensing fees.

Among Chinese companies, Huawei and BOE are the only two mainland companies in the top ten. They have obtained 3023 patents and 2725 patents respectively, ranking 7th and 8th. The number of patents of BOE increased by 27% year-on-year. Taiwan’s TSMC ranked sixth.

The number of patents of other Chinese companies has grown rapidly. Tencent ranked 53rd and obtained 789 U.S. patents in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 24%; Baidu ranked 73rd and obtained 618 patents, a year-on-year increase of 43%; Xiaomi ranked 87th and obtained 503 patents, an increase of 33% year-on-year; Alibaba ranked 103rd, and obtained 418 patents, an increase of 37% year-on-year; Bytedance ranked 269th, obtained 160 patents, an increase of 84% year-on-year.

“Patent filings in China have exploded over the years,” said Rocky Berndsen, director of patent analytics at Harrity, “so as more and more of these companies do business in the U.S., we expect China to The number of patents will increase.”

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