The total number of patents granted in the United States has been more-or-less static over the last five years. However, that trend came seemed to come to an end last year. New 2019 USPTO patent statistics analysis, carried out using Anaqua’s AcclaimIP patent search and analytics software, found that there were 392,616 patents granted in 2019. This represents a 15% increase on 2018. Overall, 394,879 patent applications were published in the US in 2019, a 5% increase on 2018’s figures.

Khyle Eaton, Product Manager of Business Intelligence at Anaqua, comments:

“We are seeing a larger presence in 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 (think cellular technologies) 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 increase in grants could be associated with increased efficiency within the USPTO or a result of patentees becoming more efficient in filing patents, making it easier and quicker for approvals. However, we believe patent owners are taking both the quality and production of patents even more seriously, which could be supported by the enhancement and adoption of more Intellectual Property Management Software (IPMS) 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.

“When you look at who is getting patents, the top grantees continue to drive the market. The top 25 patentees this year received over 68,500 patents or about 17.5% of all patents granted by the USPTO, the same as 2018 (where it was 18%). 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.

“As we’ve now seen, the increase in both patents and applications has reached the highest number over the past five years, a trend 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.”

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