The sum of a company’s patent awards is not by a longshot a perfect barometer for an organization’s ability to innovate, but it can be one important measure of its investment in itself and its intellectual property—and its future competitiveness. In that regard, IT infrastructure company EMC (NYSE:EMC) seems like it’s doing all right. The Hopkinton, MA-based firm led the state in the number of patents won last year, no small feat when you’re doing business near an intellectual property machine like MIT, which came in at a distant second, according to figures Xconomy obtained from Wilmington, DE-based IFI Patent Intelligence. (Check out the list of the top 25 patent winners below for specific figures.)
Last week, IFI noted in its national survey of U.S. patent grants for 2008 that foreign companies edged out their American counterparts in patenting—with 50 percent of total awards, compared with 49 percent for U.S. firms. Asian tech companies such as Samsung Electronics of South Korea and Japan-based Toshiba led the way. But Armonk, NY-based IT giant IBM topped IFI’s list with a record-high 4,186 patent grants.
Again, it’s tough to draw conclusions about a company’s—or country’s—capacity to innovate based on patent grants. For instance, a breakthrough drug for cancer may only require a few patents to protect its intellectual property, while a relatively mundane piece of software may entail dozens. (Perhaps that also sort of explains why IT companies often best their counterparts in life sciences in total patent grants.)
After IFI released its national patent totals last week, we at Xconomy sought out figures for Massachusetts. (Be forewarned that the patents tallied in the list below represent only those patents assigned to each entity’s operations in Massachusetts, and patents awarded to offices outside the state aren’t included.)
Here’s the top 25 list:
1. EMC (IT) — 192
2. MIT (academic research) — 138
3. Analog Devices (semiconductors) — 122
4. Raytheon (defense) — 122
5. Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (electronics) — 86
6. Acushnet (sporting goods) — 78
7. Massachusetts General Hospital (medical research) — 53 … Next Page »
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