With patents aplenty, Canon leads Island innovation

Creativity central: With parent company Canon earning the third-most U.S. patents issued in 2018, Canon USA's Melville headquarters is a vital hub of Long Island innovation.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A Japanese import and major Long Island stakeholder continued to set a breakneck U.S. patent pace in 2018 – big news on an Island where innovation shapes up as a last, best socioeconomic hope.

International imaging giant Canon Inc., parent of Melville-based Canon USA, ranked third in the number of utility patents awarded in 2018 by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, trailing only global tech rivals IBM and Samsung.

With the total number of issued U.S. patents dropping, Canon marked its 33rd consecutive year in the top five of U.S. patent-earners, snagging 3,056 fresh IP exclusivities, according to Connecticut-based statistician IFI CLAIMS Patent Services.

By showing behind thoroughbreds like Armonk-based IBM (9,100 U.S. patents in 2018) and South Korean stalwart Samsung (5,850 U.S. patents last year), Canon – which also notched its 14th straight year as Japan’s top U.S. patent-earner – “continues to empower future leaders with new and innovative technology solutions,” according to a company statement.

And with Canon USA churning out many of those solutions in Melville, the parent company’s focus on innovation – and fixation on U.S. patents – is like a turbo boost for the Long Island innovation economy, according to Executive Vice President Seymour Liebman, Canon USA chief administrative officer and general counsel.

“The secret to the success behind Canon is that it is always reinventing its approach to innovation, as evident through our continually high rankings in the IFI’s annual patent reports,” Liebman said in a statement. “We are proud of our strong standing among fellow tech giants and look forward to the future, as we continue to break molds and reimagine the impossible.”

Further top-10 U.S. patent-earners last year included California-based Intel Corp. (2,735), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (2,425), Washington State-based Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC (2,353) and California-based Apple Inc. (2,160).

Other interesting patent trends, according to IFI Claims Patent Services: Chinese companies earned more than 12,000 U.S. patents in 2018 a 12 percent year-over-year increase while the total number of utility patents granted by the USPTO declined by 3.5 percent (to 308,853, coming off a record high in 2017).

Domestic companies earned just under half of those 2018 patents (46 percent), while Asian companies (31 percent) and European companies (15 percent) earned the lion’s share of the rest.

IFI Claims Patent Services’ full 2018 Patent Rankings and Trends report is available here.