Toyota Motor Co. has come out on top in one closely watched measure of technical prowess — awards of U.S. patents, according to a new study.
A new report published this week indicating “Top 300 Organizations Granted U.S. Patents in 2016,” which is published by the Intellectual Property Owners Association, showed that Toyota was awarded 1,540 U.S. patents in 2016 — more than any other automaker at a time when car makers and traditional automotive suppliers are scrambling to push into new areas such as the fast-evolving world of mobility.
“As companies in the automotive industry transform themselves into broader mobility providers, no auto company better demonstrates innovation and technology for the future than Toyota,” said Jeff Makarewicz, group vice president, Toyota Motor North America Research & Development.
“Toyota’s industry-leading patent numbers illustrate the company’s continuous success as global mobility and innovation front runner,” he added.
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With cutting edge systems like Toyota Safety Sense and Entune 3.0, Toyota continues to lead the way in anticipating and engineering ever-better cars and technology, he said.
Toyota was once again, the only automaker listed in the top 20 patent awardees.
However, other key innovators in the top 20, which also included companies such as Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft as well as Intel and Samsung all of which are pushing automotive-oriented technology and inventions.
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The Intellectual Property Association, which published its 2016 Top 300 Patent Owners List this week, listed 300 companies that received U.S. utility patents during calendar year 2016. Subsidiary company patents are attributed to the total for the parent company if the parent requested that the totals be combined.
The five companies with the most patent award 2016 included International Business Machines Corp. with 8,023, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. with 5,504, Canon K.K. with 3,865, Intel with 3,414 and Google, Inc. with 3,267.
Patents can generally help protect intellectual property and they have come into play in Google’s highly publicized legal battle with Uber over autonomous vehicle technology. Patents also can help companies honor the effort of individual employees.
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However, some companies have elected not to apply for patents, preferring to keep technological advances secret from rivals.