The Imaginary US Lead in Technololgy
In January 2006, the Patent Office released its annual announcement of Top 10 Organizations Receiving Most U.S. Patents. They were, in descending order: International Business Machines Corporation, Canon Kabushiki Kaisha; Hewlett-Packard Development Company; Matsushita; Samsung; Micron Technology; Intel Corporation, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Fujitsu Limited.
In short, the U.S. has 4 representatives out of 10. While I have attacked the patent system in Steal This Idea, the low ranking of the U.S. companies reflect the energies that go into short run financial manipulation rather than investing for the long run.
Soon afterwards, the agency announced that it would cease issuing this information. It claims that the quality of patents is more important than the quantity, without giving any indication of how a quality measure would come out.
United States Patent and Tradmark Office. 2007. “USPTO Statement on Ceasing Annual Top 10 Patents Holders List (24 January).