IBM acquired 6,809 patents in the U.S. last year, retaining the top spot in the field for the 21st year running despite falling woefully behind in the consumer electronics race.
Samsung ranked second for the eighth year in a row, U.S.-based IFI Claims Patent Services said Wednesday.
Samsung had 4,676 patents registered there last year, but that was down for the first time. In 2006, Samsung registered 2,451 patents in the U.S. and the number increased each year to peak at 5,081 in 2012.
A Samsung spokesman attributed the drop to a "shift in patent policy from quantity to quality." Due to the previous focus on quantity, many of Samsung's patents were left unused, he added.
The company has also been criticized for putting too much emphasis on patents that are impractical and pursued only for the purpose of raising the number, to the point where the annual cost of W80 billion (US$1=W1,063) to maintain them proved a headache.
LG ranked 10th with 1,947 patents last year.