In the tech world we know that patents rule. Patents are concrete evidence of your innovations as well as the strength of your R&D program. Apple did pretty well in the patent race in 2012 with 1,135 patents awarded, up 68% from 2011. They can’t hold a candle to Samsung though. Second only to IBM with 5081 patents awarded last year.
Huge number. Impressive number. But also not a true apples to apples (or apples to kimchi?) comparison between Apple and the Korean giant. Remember Samsung makes more than just computers, MP3 players, and phones, they make TVs, appliances, cameras (I have two in fact), and a lot more. So, given all the areas that Samsung is involved in, the huge (and still impressive) number of patents awarded isn’t surprising.
With a 68% year over year increase, Apple isn’t doing too badly and puts them in 22nd place in the standings. Google also did well with 1,151 patents jumping from 65th place in 2011 to 21st place in 2012. Again, both these companies have much narrower R&D focuses. I wonder what the data would look like if similar Samsung divisions were compared against Apple and Google (and other companies). I’m betting while still garnering impressive numbers; Apple, Google, and Samsung would be a lot closer together in the patent race.