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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple was granted 2,541 patents in the United States last year, surpassed by only six other companies, IFI Claims reports.


In its rankings of the top 50 U.S. patent assignees in 2021 (via Patently Apple), IFI Claims Patent Services shows that Apple was granted 250 fewer patents in 2021 compared to the previous year, a nine percent decrease. Even so, Apple moved one place up the rankings in 2021.

Apple's number of granted patents was surpassed by IBM, Samsung, Canon, TSMC, Huawei, and Intel. Excluding IBM and Samsung, the following top ten companies had 2,000 to 3,000 granted patents. IBM and Samsung dwarfed the other top companies, with 8,682 and 6,366 patents granted respectively.

Out of its direct competitors, Apple still had more patents granted than LG, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung Display, Amazon, Sony, and Google. The top 20 companies with the most patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2021 are as follows:
  1. International Business Machines Corp: 8,682 patents granted
  2. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd: 6,366 patents granted
  3. Canon Inc: 3,021 patents granted
  4. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co TSMC Ltd: 2,798 patents granted
  5. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd: 2,770 patents granted
  6. Intel Corp: 2,615 patents granted
  7. Apple Inc: 2,541 patents granted
  8. LG Electronics Inc: 2,487 patents granted
  9. Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC: 2,418 patents granted
  10. Qualcomm Inc: 2,149 patents granted
  11. BOE Technology Group Co Ltd: 2,135 patents granted
  12. Toyota Motor Corp: 2,028 patents granted
  13. Samsung Display Co Ltd: 1,975 patents granted
  14. Amazon Technologies Inc: 1,942 patents granted
  15. Micron Technology Inc: 1,789 patents granted
  16. Sony Corp: 1,683 patents granted
  17. Ford Global Technologies LLC: 1,626 patents granted
  18. Google LLC: 1,493 patents granted
  19. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson AB: 1,387 patents granted
  20. Hyundai Motor Co: 1,269 patents granted

IFI Claims' 2021 Global 250 rankings reveal the world's largest patent holders by looking at all of the patents currently held by companies. In these rankings, Apple takes 37th place, with 20,491 active patents. Samsung is currently the world leader for active patents, with 90,416 in total. Microsoft, LG, Sony, Intel, and Qualcomm also beat Apple in terms of global active patents.

Apple's patent filings often reveal interesting insights into the company's specific areas of research and development, but they are not representative of its immediate plans. Recent interesting Apple filings include designs for all-glass iPhones and Apple Watches, a removable MacBook key that works as a mouse, user authentication technology for AirPods, a hydration sensor for the Apple Watch, use of the Mac Pro's "cheese grater" like design on other Apple devices, periscope camera systems, and deployable MacBook Pro feet to aid cooling.

Article Link: Apple Ranks Seventh With Over 2,500 U.S. Patents Granted in 2021


macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2006
Keep those copycats from infringing your Intellectual Property Apple, which you investing much time and money in developing. Apple tries to innovate. The M1 Chip is an example. Looking forward to new M2/M3 series of chips!

Art Mark

macrumors 6502
Jan 6, 2010
I imagine 60-80% of the patents granted are not going to be enforceable. They patent everything for this very reason, to talk about how many patents they were issued. Not that they are valid or import. It’s like South park’s underwear gnomes - “Step one patent. Step two more patents. Step three???”


macrumors 603
Nov 4, 2008
Shocking! Samsung Electronics owns so many U.S. Patents. Based on this, there is going to be a day where Apple will be buying future patents from Samsung directly since they own so many patents.
That’s what happens when you buy electronics from companies that you know manufacture overseas.
Nothing wrong with that of course but Apple buy components from Samsung and you reward them by buying their phones. Nothing wrong with that either. Just don’t cry when that foreign company gets big and powerful.
Same with cars.
This guy comes to mind;
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macrumors 6502a
Aug 21, 2015
Ten Forward
Apple is not interested in patent marketshare, they make more profit per patent than all the other companies on the list.


macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2016
Hahaha. Huawei is bigger!. I mean… well you know what I Mean ;)
But now we see why USA is banning Hw. A little afraid in innovation front is one of the factors.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2002
Central Texas
I wonder how that compares to the days they were only shipping intel. I can see how now there would be a need for many because apple silicon allows for more innovation in design. Would be great if most weren't just ideas they throw around to keep others from taking them. Or maybe they will get around to replacing every single component they use into an Apple only one? Seems to me they can keep tight control of the repair industry if they make it next to impossible to get replacement parts since they are not industry standard. That didn't help anyone but Apple the last time they did that in the beige mac days.
  • Disagree
Reactions: Billrey


macrumors 65816
Nov 9, 2013
I worked at IBM back in the 1990s. IBM patents everything! Most of the patents probably don't mean much, but they get patents anyway. It was rather a joke inside the company. I'm thinking the same is true for Samsung. I think patent laws should be changed so that frivolous patent applications get rejected.


macrumors 65816
Jan 15, 2015
Hahaha. Huawei is bigger!. I mean… well you know what I Mean ;)
But now we see why USA is banning Hw. A little afraid in innovation front is one of the factors.
Huawei ripped-off and hacked Canada’s Nortel. Nortel, in its prime, supplied 70% of the world’s network gear.
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