Canon filed more U.S. patents than Google, Apple, and Intel in 2016

canon patents 2016 14854497  gavel on a patent law book conceptual illustration
Gor Grigoryan / 123RF
In 2016, Canon filed more United States patents than Google, Intel and even Apple. In the annual IFI Claims report, the camera giant is only third on the list of the top filers for the year.

Last year wasn’t the first time Canon appeared on the list — it’s the company’s 31st consecutive year among the top five. In fact, Canon filed about 11 percent fewer patents in 2016 than in 2015, though they still listed third. Last year, Canon filed an impressive 3,665 patents, or about 10 a day.

“The first critical element towards developing remarkable solutions that move the needle for consumers and business industries alike is research and development,” said Seymour Liebman, executive vice president, chief administrative officer, and general counsel for Canon USA Inc. “This strong showing of patents granted year after year allow us to build intelligent products and solutions for the future, turning great ideas into reality.”

Consider only the companies based in Japan (still filing U.S. patents), and those numbers are even higher — 2016 was the 12th consecutive year that Canon was ranked first in the country for patent applications.

Obviously, Canon wasn’t cranking out 10 new products a day, but the numbers show the company’s research into the possibilities, some of which don’t always come to life. Just to name a few, in 2016, Canon patented a new method for correcting autofocus errors, a full-frame mirrorless camera, a lens with mounting plates on both ends (for shooting macro in reverse), and a design to shrink a 1,000mm lens in half.

The patent numbers also likely include filings for the company’s other products, including printers, projectors, and even calculators.

Samsung was second on the list, while Google, Intel, LG, and Microsoft rounded up fifth through eighth places. Apple filed a little over 2,000 patents, putting them in the 11th slot. Ricoh ranked 21st and Fujifilm 48th.

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