So says the Bits blog at The New York Times:
I.B.M. collected 6,478 patents last year. I.B.M.’s patent asset generates an estimated $1 billion a year in license revenue. But it also a shield against patent litigation by competitors and patent-holding firms.
That makes it 20 years in a row that IBM has been first. Samsung Electronics was second with 5,081 patents. Apple and Google, though coming up in the rankings, were somewhat further down in the rankings. However:
But in the Boston Consulting ranking, based mainly on an opinion survey of 1,500 executives, I.B.M. placed sixth among the most innovative companies in 2012. Apple came in first, followed by Google, in this measure of perception rather than patent counts.