IBM leads 2005 U.S. patent ranking

Big Blue stays ahead of Canon, HP even though its number of applications filed falls in 2005

IBM filed more patent applications than any other company with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2005 to once again lead the annual ranking put out by the U.S. Department of Commerce office.

The company filed for 2,941 patents in 2005, which is down from 3,248 applications in 2004 but still well ahead of second-ranked Canon, which filed 1,828 applications, the USPTO said Thursday. The figures are preliminary and subject to correction in the USPTO's annual "Patenting by Organizations" report that is due out in several months.

IBM has been the top corporate filer of patents since at least 1994, according to data on the USPTO's Web site.

The number-three filer for 2005 was Hewlett-Packard Development Co., 1,797 applications; followed by Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), 1,688 applications; and Samsung Electronics, 1,641 applications. The remainder of the top ten was: Micron Technology, 1,561; Intel, 1,549; Hitachi, 1,271; Toshiba, 1,258; and Fujitsu, 1,154.

Sony dropped out of the top ten for the first time since 1996.