Who is the top-inventor in terms of number of patents worldwide? Well, it depends on how you count. Is it granted patents in a specific jurisdiction (US, EP, JP,…), or is total number granted patents worldwide? Unfortunately, there is no formal statistics about this, but in the era of Internet and crowd-sourcing there is a nice wiki site, prolific inventors, where determined inventors with more than 200 granted UP patents are listed. Currently the list consists of 138 inventors. I believe the list is not complete especially for the “low numbers” 200-300, and there will probably be more inventors, living and historical, with more than 200 granted US patents. However, for the top 10 the list is probably complete, and in order to qualify on the top-10 list you need …. 1000+ granted US patents!
Top 10 (12) list (May 9th 2017)
Name / Active year with published patent / #Granted US patents
- Shunpei Yamazaki, 1976-2017: 4803
- Kia Silverbrook, 1994-2017: 4742
- Lowel L. Wood, Jr, 1977-2017: 1494
- Roderic A. Hyde, 2001-2017: 1321
- Paul Lapstun, 2000-2017: 1282
- Gurtej Sandhu, 1991-2017: 1268
- Jun Koyama, 1991-2017: 1257
- Leonard Forbes, 1991-2017: 1096
- Thomas Edison, 1847(b)-1931(d): 1084
- Kangguo Cheng, 2004-2017: 1022
- Donald E. Weder, 1976-2017: 1000
- George Albert Lyon, 1882(b)-1961(d): 993
Quite amazing guys, the top-2 inventors, with over 4700 patents each, 3 times more than no #3 on the list who has “only” 1494 …
As can be seen there are in fact 11 inventors with more than 1000 granted US patents, and T.A Edison is nowadays only on 9th place. One can also note that 9 out of the 10 top-inventors still are active, and a majority of them have patents within electronics and semiconductor technologies, indicating how important patents are in these areas.
So, I – with only 251 – still have a lot of catching up to do to be at the top of the list…..