According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple, which has become an increasingly important force in the world of technology, was issued almost twice as many patents in 2010 than in 2009. The company was issued 563 patents in 2010, 289 in 2009 and 186 in 2008. This makes Apple #46 in IFI Claims Patent Services’ list of the top 50 patent assignees in 2010. The patents awarded to Apple this year include the multi-touch screen on the iPhone, which can detect multiple touches that occur at the same time in different locations. Some of these patents had application dates as far back as 2004 and 2005.
Despite this increase, Apple is still far behind long-time patent leaders, including the top 3 patent assignees, IBM (with 5896 patents in 2010), Samsung (4551) and Microsoft (3094). IBM also broke the 5000-patent mark for the first time in 2010. Full rankings include other longtime technology leaders, such as Panasonic, Toshiba, Sony, Intel, HP and LG.