Apple racked up almost 6 patents per day in 2018


Apple waveguides patent
Apple had quite the industrious year.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple was granted the equivalent of almost six patents per day in 2018, racking up more than 2,000 over the year.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ranks Apple No. 11 on a list of companies awarded the greatest number of patents. So, who beat Apple at the patent game in 2018?

Companies with most patents in 2018

1. International Business Machines (IBM)
2. Samsung Electronics
3. Canon
4. General Electric
5. Intel
6. Alphabet
7. LG Electronics
8. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC)
9. Microsoft
10. Qualcomm

While Apple failed to make the top 10, it’s nonetheless an incredibly impressive number. Overall, the USPTO awarded 307,759 patents last year. That’s a slight dip from 2017. Apple was awarded 3.6% fewer patents last year than in 2017.

That’s in line with the USPTO dip in total number of patents, which declined 3.5% in the same time. However, the number of patent applications during 2018 actually increased.

Tech dominates patent awards

The top categories for patents all related to tech. This included electrical digital data processing, transmission of digital information, semiconductor devices, wireless communication networks, and pictorial communication.

It’s worth pointing out, of course, that innovation isn’t something that can simply be measured by the number of patents filed. Apple also files plenty of patent applications that it never winds up making into products. (I’m still waiting for the gaming joystick that pops out of the iPhone Home button.)

Unfortunately, while Apple only made No. 11 on this list, previous research ranked Apple No. 1 for patent-related lawsuits. We guess you take the bad with the good!

Source: IPO (.pdf)