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Microsoft increased its patent output in 2019 and was the fourth largest recipient of patents, according to analysis by IFI Claims Patent Services. Redmond’s patent growth helped to make last year a record one in terms of the number of patents received.

Amazon, Microsoft’s big cloud rival, saw a similar uptick in its received patents and moved into the top 10 (9th).

Microsoft moved three places from seventh position last year. The company had 3,081 patents granted in 2019, a year-on-year increase compared to 2,353 in 2018. Microsoft’s 31% increase in patent activity was the second largest upturn in the top 10.

As for Amazon, its 2,427 granted applications in 2018 was also up from 2,035 the previous year.

It is worth noting, the way patents are developed, filed, and granted plays a part in the rankings. For example, there is a lag between when a company applies for a patent and when it is received. This time period is usually around two years but can be more.

In other words, the patents represented on 2019’s list are from file applications made several years ago, and sometimes longer.

Tech Dominance

IBM remains the patent king (as it has for decades) and received 9,262 patents in 2019, up from 9,100 in 2018. Samsung is in second again with 6,469 patents, an 11% increase YoY.

As you can see in the image above, Huawei was the biggest mover. The Chinese company moved six places and entered the top 10. Despite its problems last year, Huawei was granted 2,418 patents, a whopping 44% upswing from 1,680 in 2018.

Interestingly, tech companies continue to lead the way in terms of patenting. Nine of the top 10 companies are from the tech sector, with just automaker Ford the lone organization from another industry.

As always, it’s worth remembering not all patents are developed into full products or services. So, don’t expect to see over 3,000 Microsoft innovations flood the market this year.