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What may surprise some is that a significant percentage of the patents won in the U.S. came from abroad. Even though IBM is a domestic company, almost 30 percent of its patents were produced outside the U.S. in 2011, and 22 percent in 2010. Manny Schecter, IBM’s chief patent counsel, said the percentage of patents coming from abroad can only be expected to increase.
And IBM isn’t alone. Four of the top ten patent winners were Japanese companies, with Canon (NYSE:CAJ), Sony (NYSE:SNE), and Panasonic (NYSE:PC) sweeping third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. Samsung came in second place, making four of the top five patent winners Asian companies. Schecter also said that flourishing markets will produce more and more intellectual property, thus explaining why IBM patents came out of more than 30 different countries, and why so many other patents are coming out of Asia.
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