The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker broke into the top 10 list of U.S. patent recipients last year with 53 more than Google and 88 more than Amazon, according to an analysis of figures from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Fairview Research’s IFI Patent Claims Services. Ford trailed Apple Inc. by 37 patents.
Carmakers from Detroit to Tokyo have been vying to shake their image as old-school manufacturers and fashion themselves as “mobility” companies, pouring billions of dollars into self-driving car technology and new transportation services to move people and goods.
The 2,123 patents Ford received last year is triple the 707 it got in 2013. Among Ford’s new-age projects is a pact with Walmart Inc. to test a grocery delivery concept. Ford has said it plans to launch a purpose-built autonomous vehicle with a self-driving business model by 2021, and it’s testing autonomous cars developed alongside its partner, Argo AI.
Toyota Motor Corp. is no slouch when it comes to patents. The Japanese automaker ranked 13th with 1,959 patents, and on Monday said it would share with rivals its technology for an automated safety system. Hyundai Motor Co. was No. 19 with 1,369 and General Motors Co. was 27th with 1,046 patents.
Ford and two Chinese companies — networking and phone maker Huawei Technologies Co. and display maker BOE Technology Group Co. — were the only ones in the top 20 to see a double-digit increase in the number of patents they received, according to IFI’s analysis.