Of the top eleven active US patent holders, only four are American companies.
But who gets the best return on their innovation rights is less clear.
It is no surprise that many foreign companies are significant US patent holders. The leader in active US patents, Samsung, with 63,434, is now more than 24,000 issued invention rights ahead of the American leader, IBM, with 39,436. But US patentees are learning that they do not all need to be top banana to succeed.
What this tells us is that for some companies – especially foreign ones – the quantity of US patents still counts, even if quality appears to be somewhat of a moving target. And besides, big technology companies seldom put their patents to the test.
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