In brief: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted 352,013 patents in 2020, a dip of just 0.69 percent compared to the previous year. Both years were up substantially from 2018 when only 307,761 US patents were granted according to IFI Claims Patent Services.

2020 also saw an increase in submitted applications. At 413,176, the figure was up more than 4.75 percent compared to 2019.

At first glance, it may seem as if the pandemic hasn't had much of an impact on innovation. According to IFI Claims Patent Services, however, it would be premature to conclude that Covid-19 hasn't affected patent filings.

Per the publication, the effective period between filing an application and getting published can take up to 18 months. As such, we will need to wait at least two more years then reevaluate the numbers from 2020 onward.

Unsurprisingly, the US led the way in terms of the number of US granted patents in 2020 with 164,379. The next closest country was Japan with 52,421 granted patents, followed by South Korea at just 22,400.

Individually, IBM finished in first place with 9,130 awarded patents, leading the industry in fields such as artificial intelligence, cloud technologies and quantum computing. Samsung earned the silver with 6,415 patents granted followed by Canon, Microsoft and Intel at 3,225, 2,905 and 2,867 patents awarded, respectively.

Image credit Mark Van Scyoc, Sergey Kamshylin