Optics Ranks as the #4 Technology Area in the 2019 Patent 300™ Report

By Rocky Berndsen

The 2019 Patent 300™ Report details the top 300 companies, organizations, and universities obtaining patents in the United States.  Data from the report shows that nearly 70% of the U.S. patents obtained in 2018 were for electrical, software, or computer-related technologies.  The top 10 technology areas, which represent 49% of the 167,164 U.S. patents obtained by Patent 300 companies in 2018, are dominated by electrical technologies.

Chart 1 shows the Optics technology area ranked the 4th largest in 2018.  There were 9,003 patents issued for Patent 300 companies in the U.S.  Optics covers the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) technology classifications for apparatus and corresponding processes used for storing and retrieving optical or magneto-optical information.  The basis of the technology is relative movement between an optical storage carrier or medium and a transducer along a continuous path.

The class includes apparatus and corresponding processes for making copies or editing optical records, falling within the above definition.  It includes the transfer medium having a specific information storage structure.  The scope of the Optics technology class overlaps with other classes and subclasses.  It is an integral part of the class of patents covering Dynamic Information Storage or Retrieval.

Chart 1 – Top 10 Technology Areas for Patent 300 (2018 U.S. Patents)

RankPatent 300 Technology Area2018 U.S. PatentsPercentage of Total 2018 U.S. Patents
2Electrical Circuits and Systems13,2158%
3Multiplex and VoIP9,8756%
5Printing/Measuring and Testing8,6415%
6Thermal & Combustion Technology, Motive & Fluid Power Systems7,0174%
7Selective Visual Display Systems4,8553%
8Telecommunications: Analog Radio Telephone; Satellite and Power Control; Transceivers, Measuring and Testing; Bluetooth; Receivers and Transmitters; Equipment Details4,7613%
9Computer Networks4,5443%
10Cryptography and Security4,3113%

The top 20 companies in the Optics area, shown in Chart 2, are large global technology companies.  They include Samsung (#1), Canon (#2), BOE Technology (#3), TCL Corporation (#4), and others.  Samsung tops the list having obtained 672 U.S. patents, down from 2017.  Canon had 366 U.S. patents.  BOE Technology, at 326, was up 8% from 2017.  The top 20 companies represent a cross-section of the technology sector.

Chart 2 – Top 20 Companies by U.S. Patents in Telecommunications

Patent 300 Company NamePatent 300 Rank in OpticsOptics Patents 2018% of Company's 2018 U.S. PatentsOptics Patents 2017Change from 2017 Patents
Carl Zeiss524667%255-4%
Japan Display919832%212-7%
Seiko Epson1018414%203-10%
LG Display2011817%1079%

For more detailed information about this technology area, or any other data related to the 2019 Patent 300™ Report, please visit harrityllp.com/patent300/ or contact Rocky Berndsen directly via email at rberndsen@harrityllp.com.