Joff Wild

Issue 58 of IAM has now been published and is available to all our subscribers online. Hard copies are currently winging their way through the global postal system and should be hitting desks shortly. You can see a full copy of the issue in both PDF and digital formats – if you are a subscriber.

In this issue, we produce a piece of research that will catch the eye of anyone who has an interest in the US patent marketplace -  the biggest, the most dynamic and the most lucrative in the world. Driving that market forward is a relatively small number of companies, each of which owns a huge portfolio of patent rights. In IAM 58 we introduce the US Patent 100, a listing we have put together with MDB Capital Group, the IP-focused investment bank. The list provides details of the companies that own the 100 biggest US portfolios, which when combined represent well over 30% of all currently active US patents. But not only do we name the companies, but we also identify the fastest growing portfolios and hone in on a select few which are outstanding in depth and quality.

With regard to the latter, there are over 140,000 entities that have at least one active US patent. However, just 14 companies stand out in terms of grants (over 3,400), a compound annual growth rate in application rate of over 13% and what we term a “tech score” (that is a value calculated from the rate at which the patents in a portfolio are being cited and normalised against a cohort group of patents selected by age) of over 0.88. This implies that they are the owners of the largest, fastest-growing and most industry-recognised patent portfolios in the US. The 14 in question are:

• Abbott Laboratories


• Apple

• AT&T

• Covidien

• Ericsson

• Freescale Semiconductor

• Globalfoundries

• Hon Hai

• Intellectual Ventures

• Microsoft

• Qualcomm

• Research in Motion (now Blackberry, of course)

• Sony Corporation

Clearly there are a few interesting names in that little list. That Intellectual Ventures makes it, for example, speaks volumes for the firm’s patent acquisition and development programme; while RIM (now Blackberry, of course) investors should have some reason for optimism from the company’s showing. The presence of Hon Hai is also rather intriguing. Subscribers will find a lot more detail about each of the 14’s portfolios in the issue; and lots more besides about each of the US Patent 100.

And to round things off, here are the owners of the 10 biggest active US patent portfolios (in order):

1. Samsung

2. IBM

3. Canon

4. Panasonic

5. Sony

6. Toshiba

7. Hewlett-Packard

8. Hitachi

9. Microsoft

10. Intel