The 2012 Patent Rankings

I.B.M. was granted more patents in 2012 than any other company, the 20th consecutive year in the top spot, according to the annual tally by IFI Claims Patent Services, published on Thursday.

The technology giant is flush these days, so its patent pre-eminence in recent years seems routine. What is more impressive is that the winning streak was just under way when I.B.M. went into a tailspin in the early 1990s. Despite sharp cutbacks elsewhere in the company, I.B.M. kept investing in its research engine.

Google and Apple, rivals in the smartphone patent wars, were the big movers. Google posted a 170 percent jump in patents granted, with 1,151 patents. In 2012, Google ranked 21st in the corporate patent sweepstakes. A year earlier, it had placed 65th.

Didn't find it surprising that they will omit Microsoft from this news. As it is Microsoft is not one of the four horsemen of tech world (and now not even fifth). In any case, Microsoft is 6th in this list with 2613 patents, far above Google and Apple in 21 & 22 positions respectively.