Each year, the U.S. Patent Office and Trademark Office awards hundreds of thousands of patents to American and global companies. Last week, IFI Claims Patent Services, a producer of patent databases, released its top 50 ranking of the global companies awarded the most U.S. utility patents in 2011.
24/7 Wall St.’s review of the IFI list finds that producing the most patents does not ensure a successful business — frequently, it can mean the exact opposite. These are the top 10 biggest patent producing companies for 2011.
Most of the corporations in the top 10 are among the most worst performers across all industries. Share prices of seven of them plunged more than 40% in 2011. Five of the companies also lost money last year. Hitachi and Panasonic, both in the top 10, each lost more than $1 billion.
Of the top 10 recipients, only three are particularly successful companies. For years, they have held the largest market share in highly profitable businesses. Korean giant Toshiba has been extremely successful in consumer electronics, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) dominates the operating system market and IBM (NYSE: IBM) is the market leader in enterprise computing. These companies have been able to rely on their constant revenue streams to support heavy investment in research and development.
Some incredibly successful tech companies are not even in the top 25. Companies like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), which is only 39th on the list, have been extremely profitable as a result of a small number of highly successful products. Kodak (NYSE: EK) , meanwhile, is filing for bankruptcy, despite being one of the top patent recipients for years.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed top U.S. patent recipients for the past five years according to IFI’s annual reports. To illustrate how patent awards relate to company performance, we examined sales, profit and change in share price over the past five years for the top 10. We also examined how these companies compared within their industry and among the largest companies in the world based on the Forbes Global 2,000. Rankings for profit and sales are out of the largest 2,000 companies.
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