Microsoft, Sharp, UW Led Washington in 2008 Patents Issued—Here Are the Top 25

1/28/09Follow @gthuang

[Updated Jan. 28, with information on Intellectual Ventures' patents (see below)]
If its volume of new patents is any indication, Microsoft is going to be just fine. The Redmond, WA, software firm blew away the rest of Washington state in terms of the number of patents it was granted last year. That’s according to IFI Patent Intelligence, based in Wilmington, DE, which recently released a national survey of patent grants for 2008. Xconomy obtained the figures for Washington state, as well as Massachusetts and California. (See the list of Washington’s top 25 patent winners below.)

Patent awards are, of course, just one measure of an organization’s competitiveness and inventiveness. It’s hard to draw definitive conclusions about a company’s ability to innovate based on its number of patents, say—imagine trying to compare a biotech company with an electronics firm, or a young software startup with an established powerhouse. But it’s still a key measure of an organization’s investment in its intellectual property.

Microsoft’s tally (2,030) is greater than the rest of Washington’s top 25 combined. It was good enough for fourth place nationally, behind IBM (4,186), Samsung (3,515), and Canon (2,114), and ahead of Intel (1,776). In Washington state, Sharp Laboratories and the University of Washington were a distant second and third, respectively.

A few other notables. Boeing is fairly low on the list (16th), in part because the figures only count patents awarded to each organization’s operations in Washington; patents awarded to offices or operations outside the state are not included in this list. Amazon ranks pretty low as well (12th), and Bellevue-based Intellectual Ventures, the invention company, is in 8th place, listed as “Searete.” Lastly, there was a seemingly random tie for 5th place between forestry firm Weyerhaeuser (which just closed two of its Washington mills this week) and biotech company ZymoGenetics (which just bought back the rights to its lead cancer drug candidate today).

Without further ado, here’s Washington state’s top 25 patent winners in 2008:

1. Microsoft — 2,030
2. Sharp Laboratories of America — 144
3. University of Washington — 47
4. Battelle Memorial Institute — 33
5. (tie)
Weyerhaeuser — 28
ZymoGenetics — 28 … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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