It lost the top spot in 2008, but in 2009, Panasonic submitted the most international patent applications (according to a preliminary report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization on Monday). Panasonic filed a total of 1,891 applications, topping the 1,847 of major Chinese telecommunications equipment producer Huawei Technologies (which was the No. 1 in 2008).
After having acquired Sanyo, maintaining the top spot in the next few years should be more than possible. Panasonic and Huawei are followed by auto equipment maker Robert Bosch from Germany (1,586 applications), Philips (1,295 applications), and Qualcomm (1,280 applications).
The overall number of applications filed dropped 4.5% to 155,900, declining for the first time ever since 1978. But there’s still China whose companies submitted a whopping 29.7% more applications last year than in 2008. By country, the US took the top spot with 45,790 applications (minus 11.4%), followed by Japan (29,827 applications, plus 3.6%), Germany (16,736 applications, minus 11.2%), and China (7,946 applications).