IBM tops US patent recipients in 2004

For the 12th straight year, IBM has topped the list of companies receiving U.S. patents, according to an annual report published Tuesday by a unit of the Dutch information services company WoltersKluwer.

Big Blue was awarded 3,277 patents, followed by Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. with 1,965 and Canon KK, a unit of Canon, with 1,813. In fourth place was Hewlett-Packard Development Co. with 1,780 and Micron Technology Inc. with 1,761, according to the report.

The patent data is based on research compiled by IFI Claims Patent Services, based in Wilmington, Delaware. IFI Claims is a unit of Wolters Kluwer Health, a division of the Amsterdam-based WoltersKluwer Group.

For the first time since 1995, however, the total number of issued U.S. patents declined, down 2.7 percent to 164,402 from the year before, according to the report.

U.S. companies led all industries with 23 of the top slots, followed by Japan-based companies pinning down 16 slots.

In the biotechnology sector, The University of California, ranked number 42 in the top-50 list, led the biotechnology sector with 447 patents. Other biotech contenders included Applera, Germany's Degussa and the U.S. Government Health and Human Services.

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