IBM And Samsung Both Rank As More Innovative Than Apple

Google Patents AH

It can be difficult to be objective about Apple from the perspective of a non-believer. Apple’s reputation is that of a innovative business with bleeding edge products “that just work,” trailblazing with revolutionary ideas and solutions to problems no matter how trivial. Talk to shops about Apple products and a sales manager will likely tell you that the product sells itself, which is not true: Apple has invested billions into a fabulous marketing backed up by a heavy-handed legal department, which is why I’m not mentioning bendgate and Apple surreptitiously reinforcing the iPhone 6 Plus’ chassis whilst denying that customers were experiencing strangely bending iPhones under normal use.

Swiftly moving on, one of the reasons why Apple is spoken about as being innovative is the number of patents that the company files every year. The reality is that some years, this is true, but for the last twelve months they weren’t even in the top ten for patents granted. Sure, they were in spot eleven, but there’s a big difference between being the most innovative and in eleventh position! Ask any racing driver. As at the end of May 2015, IBM had been granted the most patents at 3,059 awarded. Samsung is narrowly behind with 3,052 patents awarded, with Canon a distant third at 1,782. Apple were awarded 780 patents this year, behind LG’s 1,263, Google’s 1,083 and Sony’s 1,074. System-on-Chip designer, Qualcomm, were awarded more patents than Apple at 1,034.

However, receiving patents is just one part of innovation: applying for patents is arguably even more important as this shows the work going in to ask for a patent! Here, we see Samsung in the lead having requested 2,487 patents. IBM is some way behind at 1,764 but Apple are ranked 23rd with only 279 patents applied for this year. For references’ sake, Google was positioned in eleventh place having applied for 439 patents. One fact that we can see from this is that the number of patents being requested in some way short of those being granted, which may be evidence that the changes in patent laws are having an effect in reducing the number of patents awarded. Looking to the medium to longer term, this may eventually reduce the number of patent lawsuits between various technology companies.