Ford was the only non-tech company in the top 10 recipients of patents last year.
Ford Motor may be a 115-year-old industrial giant, but the company leads the likes of Google and Amazon by one key measure of innovation.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker broke into the top 10 list of U.S. patent recipients last year with 2,123 patents — 53 more than Google and 88 more than Amazon, according to an analysis of figures from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Fairview Research’s IFI Patent Claims Services.
Ford trailed Apple by just 37 patents.
The top recipient of patents was International Business Machines, which received 9,100, extending IBM’s No. 1 streak to 26 years, according to the IFI analysis.
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Six of the top 10 recipients of patents were U.S. companies, including chip rivals Intel (with 2,735) and Qualcomm (2,300), as well as Microsof (2,353).
The four Asian companies in the top 10 were South Korea’s Samsung Electronics at No. 2 (with 5,850 patents), Canon of Japan (3,056), LG Electronics (2,474) also from South Korea, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (2,465).
Ford was the only non-tech company in the top 10.
Carmakers from Detroit to Tokyo have been vying to shake their image as old-school manufacturers and fashion themselves as “mobility” companies, pouring billions of dollars into self-driving car technology and new transportation services to move people and goods.
Ford’s 2018 patent tally is triple the 707 it got in 2013. Among Ford’s new-age projects is a pact with Walmart to test a grocery delivery concept. Ford has said it plans to launch a purpose-built autonomous vehicle with a self-driving business model by 2021, and it’s testing autonomous cars developed alongside its partner, Argo AI.
Toyota Motor is no slouch when it comes to patents either. The Japanese automaker ranked 13th with 1,959 patents, and on Monday said it would share with rivals its technology for an automated safety system. Hyundai Motor was No. 19 with 1,369 and General Motors was 27th with 1,046 patents.
Ford and two Chinese companies — networking and phone maker Huawei Technologies (1,680 patents) and display maker BOE Technology Group (1,634) — were the only ones in the top 20 to see a double-digit increase in the number of patents they received, according to IFI’s analysis.