Thursday, January 13, 2005

Top 2004 US patent recipients

Let's see, 4 US corporations, 5 Japanese and 1 Korean. It looks like just over half of these patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies. Of course, you might argue that the most valuable intellectual property tends to be in patents filed by small startups (like Google a few years ago), where the US may have a comfortable lead.

1 3,248 IBM
2 1,934 Matsushita Electric Industrial Co
3 1,805 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
4 1,775 Hewlett-Packard
5 1,760 Micron Technology
6 1,604 Samsung Electronics
7 1,601 Intel Corporation
8 1,514 Hitachi
9 1,310 Toshiba Corporation
10 1,305 Sony Corporation


Anonymous said...


Why do I never notice European corporations on the list? What does this progressive imbalance in creation of intellectual property mean for developing states? Several times I argued with Kohlberg and Rawls that setting up moral dilemmas, such as should you steal a drug you can not possibly afford to save a life dear to you, could not be answered in developing lands. I wonder?


Anonymous said...

The patents attributed to the major US corporations (including Google, btw which has an R&D branch in India, the only one outside US) are now from branches overseas, especially India. This trend is likely to increase (till it equilibrates) because in India and China being a "nerd/geek" is cool.

This, from an article an year old; wonder what the breakdown where the patent R&D is this year.

India: the big outsourcing hub of patent ideas
Sample this - the Intel team in Bangalore is developing microprocessor chips for high-speed broadband wireless technology, to be launched in 2006; at GE's John F Welch Technology Centre in Bangalore, engineers are developing new ideas for aircraft engines, transport system and plastics.
Be it Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Gurgaon, a 'weighty' amount of intellectual property is being created for US companies here.
Indian units of Cisco Systems, Intel, IBM , Texas Instruments, GE have filed 1,000 patent applications with the US Patent Office. Texas Instruments has 225 US patents awarded to its Indian operation.

"India is the new hub for patents, and soon, the world will be outsourcing R&D from India," says P Gopalakrishnan, director, IBM India Research Lab, IIT.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, I meant *some* of the patents...


Anonymous said...

MFA, thank you. Though American corporations still own the intellectual property, the work being done in India is important. I will think about this, and please add more thoughts.


Anonymous said...


(Actually, thank *you* for pointing out so many interesting articles/thoughts in various blogs: how do you do it!?)

You are correct about the US corporations owning the IP. That is definitely a weakness of current crop of Indian corporations. I was looking at it more from jobs/individual point of view.

Apologies in advance for any appearance of stereotyping. Having lived in both India and US, I think the US media greatly underestimates the knowledge, capabilities and skills of the Indians (and likely the Chinese) and often writes articles with cultural biases. Indians are doing more than "call centre jobs" in India. And in the US, Indians have consistently been among the top immigrant group in terms of mean (and median) individual (and family) income (And quite likely, a lot of the R&D being done in US corporations even in the US is by Indian immigrants). But Lou Dobbs and his ilk constantly focus on "call centre jobs" being taken away by India.

The law of averages is valid everywhere and among all "tribes": it is in what direction the people put in their abilities, what is valued in a society that makes a difference.

My experience also tells me:
* The average student ends up learning MUCH LESS in science and math in US than in India; there are no "electives" in Indian schools. This statement is on the basis of the texts I saw in NY city public schools, and grades a very average Indian student received (mid-upper 90s) when her paernts were posted in the US.
* Respect for mathematical and science talent is very high. This has to do more than just money; it is also a result of being an old civilazation, I think. Example: Recently, Michael Atiyah, a world renowned British mathematician (Steve definitely knows about him) visited some collges and universities India, and remarked that he enjoyed visiting India because he is "treated like a rock star".
* Engineering (especially computer science and electrical engineering) attracts some of the best minds of India. The students from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) are comparable to those in the best engineering schools in the US. Admission is strictly based on a very tough entrance exam; money won't get you admission. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
* School students in India are probably not as well-rounded in terms of extra-curricular activities. On the other hand, they learn more about world history. They certainly know more American history than American students known Indian history.

So I think, while the opportunities available to American students are not available anywhere else, due to a combination of lack of direction and societal priorities, they don't use it.

My 2 cents

Steve Hsu said...

I agree very much with MFA's comments. Science and engineering are much more respected in Asia, and among Asian immigrants to the West. (This is probably why I am a physics professor rather than a derivatives trader - oh well ;-)

It doesn't require US levels of GDP per capita to have an education system which more or less efficiently finds and trains the most talented cadidates (Taiwan and Korea are already well past this point). Once this level of effectiveness is reached, the large populations of countries like China and India will begin to exert their influences on world science and technology. The trend is already apparent, and will become more and more pronounced.

It is, however, still true that the systems of governance and capital allocation are more advanced in the West. It will take a generation at least for China to catch up in these areas - perhaps less for India.

To me, silicon valley is like a window into the 21st century. It is unique for its mixture of ethnicities (Indians, Chinese, Europeans), the embrace of risk taking, the rational approach to problem solving, the raw ambition to create new and great things. People come from all over the world (including Germany, France and other "developed" countries) because they know that, through their hard work and talent, they can contribute to the creation of the future.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the kind kind words and interesting comments. I agree with you, and though generalizing about India or China in their complexity and comprehensive sizes will always be humbling, I am even more hopefully optimistic than Steve.

Anonymous said...

All this stuff about education in India is complete nonsense.

How about India's literacy rate? The CIA Factbook puts it at about 60%. Pathetic. (Figure for US: 97%. China: 91%.)

Steve Hsu said...

Yes, many Indians still do not have access to a decent education. Suppose only 30% do. That is still a population in excess of the EU or USA. Under that assumption, how many world-class mathematicians or physicists should they be able to produce? About the same number as the EU or USA. That is a lot of talented scientists and engineers...

Fast forward 20 years and see what the world looks like when 80% of Indians or Chinese have access to good educations.

Anonymous said...

We will see a literacy rate in India that soars, and more and more broad based schooling. Now, however, there are large numbers of technically and artistically educated Indians completing fine educations and capable of and wishing to further transform Indian society. I am hopeful and optimistic.


Anonymous said...

"I agree very much with MFA's comments. Science and engineering are much more respected in Asia, and among Asian immigrants to the West. (This is probably why I am a physics professor rather than a derivatives trader - oh well ;-)"

Agreed, and look always to the arts as well.


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