It was recently reported that IBM was awarded the most patents in 2016 and dubbed the leading tech company for Research and Development (R&D) spending. However, a new report by a Seattle startup named Sqoop, claims that it was actually Samsung with 8,551 patents that beat out IBM and their 8,062 patents to the coveted title of 'most patents for 2016'. The company also claims that Samsung has more patent applications in for consideration than IBM – 10,695 to 8,800 – giving Samsung more of a chance to increase patents granted to the company. CEO Bill Hankes, founder of Sqoop, said that the deceiving statistics come about by the way the two companies file their patents. IBM files all of their patents under IBM, whereas Samsung files them under its many subsidiaries, but when you add them up, Samsung is the winner.
Apple is often touted as an innovative company, but over the past two years Apple has not made the top ten – Microsoft holds that spot in 2016. With the likes of LG, Google, Qualcomm and Sony also placing in the top 10, according to Sqoop. Interestingly, one of the companies who did seem to jump considerably up the patent chart in 2016 is Amazon. Patents are often a result of a company's core business and for Amazon, that means ways in which it can speed up deliveries. For instance, Amazon has been noted filing patents for their delivery system, voice-activated drones and even methods to allow them to temporally land on a car or street sign so they can recharge while in the field.
While Samsung has applied for and received thousands of patents over the years, they do not really amount to much if the company never uses them. Samsung has reportedly been working on a foldable smartphone, and rumors are that they plan to release it near the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018. That would be an innovative product brought about by spending money on R&D and filing the subsequent patents to protect their idea. If and when such a smartphone does come to market, it could be a real game-changer for Samsung as they battle to stay ahead of Apple and the rise of the Chinese smartphone manufacturers.