After five years of minimal change in total patents granted, 2019 finally broke the plateau. According to a 2019 USPTO patent statistics analysis using Anaqua’s AcclaimIP analytics software, last year there were 392,616 granted patents–a 15% increase from 2018. Further, there were 394,879 US applications published in 2019–a 5% increase from 2018.
We are also seeing a larger presence of technologies, such as 5G, virtual reality, and patents for handling user inputs which have topped the technology fields for granted patents. Other technologies, such as wireless communications were also high on that list.
So are organizations getting more innovative? Possibly. 2019 has been a year of movement in overall numbers, but significantly in the quantity of inventions. This spike in grants could be associated with increased efficiency within the USPTO or a result of patentees becoming more effective in filing patents, making it easier and quicker for approvals. This increase might also be a result of patent owners taking both the quality and production of patents even more seriously, which could potentially be supported by the enhancement and adoption of more Intellectual Property Management Software tools.
With new portfolio management tools and analytics, patent owners can do a better job of filing patent applications that best align with their organization’s goals. This includes ensuring that patent portfolios are performing and protecting their business’ products and roadmap, providing defensive use, and making money via licensing, sales, and enforcement.
Even with 2019’s increase in overall patents granted, the top grantees continue to drive the market. The top 25 patentees this year secured over 68,500 patents or about 17.5% of all patents granted by the USPTO, the same as 2018. And for the third year in a row, IBM led the field with over 9,000 patents granted. They are also the only patentee to crack the 9,000-patent barrier, cementing their status as one of the most innovative businesses in the world.
If we explore patents from around the world, of the top 10 countries of origin filing at the USPTO, China continued to have the greatest number of patents granted year over year with a 40% increase in 2019. All other countries saw an increase as well, but even the next closest country (Great Britain with a 19.5% increase) was only half the growth of China.
As we’ve now seen, the increase in both patents and applications has reached the highest number over the past five years, a pattern that could continue with the emergence of new IPMS tools such as analytics, AI and automation. With the ability to integrate “big data” market analytics with internal portfolio analysis, IP organizations are being, and can continue to be, smarter about their patent strategies, better supporting the business while maintaining increased budget control. Business alignment will lead to not only more focused patenting strategies, but also more effective plans for pruning, licensing, and competitive actions.
The Top Patent Stats in 2019:
1. 392,616 Granted Patents - The number of granted patents grew 15% in 2019. This breaks a five-year plateau where grants had been essentially flat.
2. 394,879 US Applications Published - 2019 had 18,269 more US applications published than 2018, or a 5% change.
3. 231 Unique Filings - Number of applications filed in family of US10231146B2 from Intel Corp. Filed in 2016, 122 Grants are still active in this very large family.
4. 43.5 Years of Pendency - Granted on November 26, 2019, patent US10488157B1 from Raytheon relating to anti-radiation missile technology was filed back in 1976, the year that Apple and Microsoft first formed.
5. 358 Claims - Patent US10202227B2 from Monosol Rx covering a type of water soluble film is the most thoroughly claimed invention of 2019.
6. 493 Pages - Number of pages in patent US10224961B2 from Sun Patent Trust. They had one of the largest patents granted in 2018, as well.
7. 133 Inventors - Number of inventors who cooperated on patent US10367677B2 from Ericsson. Although mostly from Sweden, these inventors hail from all over the world, including Denmark, China, and the US.