Canon filed more than 3,000 patents in 2017, keeping up a 32-year streak

Directly above Canon EOS 6D Mark II, covered in droplets, facing away diagonal right on wooden table with the screen articulated
Daven Mathies/Digital Trends
Canon has now ranked among the top five companies with the most U.S. patents for 32 years in a row. On January 10, Canon announced that the company filed the third highest number of patents in 2017, according to data from the IFI Claims Patent Services.

Last year, Canon patents numbered 3,285. Along with sticking at the top of that list for the last 32 years, for Japan-based companies on the U.S. patent list, Canon has took the first slot for 13 years in a row. That makes Canon’s patent streak older than the EOS camera system.

Canon says the number of patents illustrate the company’s dedication to developing new products. (Remember that, along with cameras, Canon also produces printers, business and medical devices.) “Having landed once again among the top three patent holders, Canon’s longstanding and continued commitment to strategic research and development through continued innovation is evident,” said Seymour Liebman, Canon USA’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer. “With 3,285 patents to our name, Canon is immensely proud of our strong standing among fellow tech giants as we continue to cement our role as a worldwide leader in imaging solutions in 2018 and beyond.”

Filed patents don’t always become actual products, but the number shows the depth of different ideas Canon researchers are toying with over the span of a year. Canon doesn’t share what those thousands of patents were, but patent documentation and watch sites have a number of ideas. Canon recently patented a stacked sensor with a new design for faster autofocus. Other patents suggest a tilt-shift lens with stabilization, algorithms to correct moire, speed enhancements, and a new design for flip screens.

Canon did, however, comment on the previous patents that have already made it out to consumers, noting their Emmy recognition for 4K pro-level cameras despite being slow to bring the higher resolution to more affordable options, along with the Canon UV gel that made it possible to develop a 64-inch roll-to-roll printer.

Canon took the third spot for the number of patents granted behind IBM with 9,043 and Samsung with 5,837. Intel was fourth and LG fifth. Other camera companies on the list of top 50 include Sony in 12th with 2,135, Panasonic in 23rd with 1,338 granted patents, Ricoh in 28th with 1,145, and Fujifilm in 47th with 695.

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