While Microsoft may not be entrenched in the smartphone patent war, the company is still filing thousands of ideas each year. According to data from IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, Microsoft was awarded 2,398 patents in the United States during 2016.
That amount of patents put Microsoft at number eight on the list for the year. That is a two place climb for the company from 10th place in 2015.
IBM remains at the top of the pile with 8,088 patents in the United States. Indeed, the company's rate of patents of 22 per day. Indeed, IBM became the first company to surpass 8,000 patents in a single year. Next on the list is Samsung with 5,518 patents.
Other companies on the list include Canon (3rd), Qualcomm (4th), Google (5th), Intel (6th), and LG (7th). Microsoft actually used to be in the top five, but the company has been focusing more on research instead of just filing patents. Microsoft Research is developing new technologies and has brought a shift in strategy for the company.
Microsoft and the Patent Wars
When looking at the numbers, it is interesting to debate whether these companies are patent trolls. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it means a company that files a patent it never plans to explore or turn into a finished product.
If a company is filing thousands of ideas per year, it seems logical that many of those filings will never actually be developed. Companies have engaged in patent wars where it covering bases by filing patents can prevent rivals from having patents.
One of the most famed patent wars is in smartphones, where Apple has been at war with Samsung. Other companies such as Microsoft and Google have also been involved in this war. It is accurate to say most companies have won and lost in this war.
For example, Microsoft makes between $5 and $15 from each Android device sold. This is due to the significant number of patents Microsoft holds. These filings are used in Android smartphones and make Microsoft up to $6 billion per year.