Microsoft received 1,649 U.S. patents in 2007, the most by far of any software company, according to the Patents Scorecard produced by IEEE Spectrum and released this week.
Microsoft topped the computer software category with a Pipeline Power score of 3,505. The score reflects number of patents issued, growth in patent activity relative to the previous five years, the number of patents that cite other patents issued in the previous five years and the variety of technologies covered in a company’s patents.
While patent powerhouse IBM, which was grouped in the computer systems category, had more patents (3,149) than Microsoft, its Pipeline Power score, 2,747, was lower.
(Update 11:53 a.m.: In the accompanying article, directors from 1790Analytics, the research firm that IEEE worked with to produce the scorecard, explain the categories:
“For the first time this year, our scorecard includes Computer Software as a separate industry (previously, hardware and software companies were listed in the same industry). Perhaps not surprisingly, Microsoft has a significant lead in Computer Software, with an overall Pipeline Power score five times as high as any other software company’s. …
“AOL appears in the scorecards for the first time this year, and the same is true of Apple in the Computer Systems industry. These companies have both seen increases in their overall Pipeline Power scores, suggesting that their patent portfolios are becoming increasingly influential. AOL has a series of highly cited patents covering technologies such as instant messaging and online purchasing. Meanwhile, Apple has highly cited patents in a range of technologies, from media players with touch pads to user interfaces for time-based data.”
Apple’s score was 141; AOL scored 431.)
Also, University of Washington ranked 14th among educational institutions with 43 patents and a score of 162.)
In the aerospace and defense category, Boeing placed third, with a Pipeline Power score of 402, behind Honeywell International and Lockheed Martin, but ahead of Airbus, which had a score of 97.