For the 14th consecutive year, IBM has topped the annual patents list compiled by IFI Patent Intelligence, securing a record 3 651 US patents in 2006.
Samsung came in second with 2 453 patents, and Canon third with 2 378. Matsushita and Hewlett-Packard were fourth and fifth respectively with more than 2 000 patents apiece.
IFI says that no other company, apart from IBM, had ever exceeded 2 000 patents in a year.
The study group also noted that 2006 was a record year for patents in the US, with 173 772 patents being issued.