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IBM and Samsung top U.S. patent list

With 2019 in the books, it's time to look at how the various tech giants fared in the competition to pile up patents.

What's new: When including various subsidiaries, Seattle-based Sqoop found that Samsung edged out perennial top patent-getter IBM for utility patent applications and grants, as well as design patents. LG and Canon also were in the top five.

Why it matters: Looked at individually, patents represent merely a single idea that may or may not come to fruition. Taken in aggregate, though, patent applications and grants are a key measure of the overall strength of a company's intellectual property portfolio.

By the numbers: Here are some other findings...

  • Microsoft moved up from the 10th position to sixth.
  • Ford entered the top 10 — the only automaker to do so.
  • In terms of utility patent applications, Huawei ranked sixth, a sign it's stepping up its IP efforts amid legal and legislative challenges.

Meanwhile, using a somewhat different methodology, IFI Patents put out its own list of 2019 U.S. patent recipients.

  • This report places IBM atop the pack, where it has been for the past 27 years.
  • IBM had 9,262 patents last year, up 2%, per IFI, followed by Samsung, Canon, Microsoft and Intel.

Go deeper: Federal lawsuit against Gilead puts patent rights on trial