List of prolific inventors

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Thomas Alva Edison was widely known as America's most prolific inventor, even after his death in 1931.[1] He held a total of 1,093 U.S. patents (1,084 utility patents and 9 design patents).[2] In 2003, his patent count was exceeded by Japanese inventor Shunpei Yamazaki.[3] On February 26, 2008, Yamazaki's patent count was exceeded by Australian inventor Kia Silverbrook.[4] In 2017, Silverbrook's patent count was exceeded by Yamazaki.

Worldwide utility patents[edit]

Inventors with 200 or more worldwide utility patents are shown in the following table. While in many cases this is the number of utility patents granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it may include utility patents granted by other countries, as noted by the source references for an inventor.

Inventor Patents Country Patent Years Years Patents / Year Majority assignment
Shunpei Yamazaki [5] 5787  Japan 1972-2021 50 116 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory
Kia Silverbrook [6] 4747  Australia 1994-2018 25 190 Silverbrook Research
Kangguo Cheng [7] 2311  USA 2004-2021 18 128 IBM
Lowell L. Wood, Jr. [8] 1964  USA 1977-2020 44 45 Intellectual Ventures
Roderick A. Hyde [9] 1876  USA 2001-2020 20 94 Intellectual Ventures
Jun Koyama [10] 1421  Japan 1991-2020 30 47 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory
Gurtej Sandhu [11] 1362  India 1991-2021 31 44 Micron
Paul Lapstun [12] 1295  Australia 2000-2020 21 62 Silverbrook Research
Clarence T. Tegreene [13] 1230  USA 2000-2020 21 59 Intellectual Ventures
Shou-Shan Fan [14] 1169  China 2006-2021 16 73 Hon Hai
Leonard Forbes [15] 1108  Canada 1991-2019 29 38 Micron
Edward K. Y. Jung [16] 1100  USA 1996-2020 25 44 Intellectual Ventures
Thomas Edison [17] 1084  USA 1869-1931 63 17 Thomas Edison
Rick Allen Hamilton II [18] 1010  USA 1999-2021 23 44 IBM
Donald E. Weder [19] 1000  USA 1978-2017 40 25 Weder Family Trust
George Albert Lyon [20] 993  Canada 1901-1965 65 15 Lyon George Albert
Jordin T. Kare [21] 978  USA 1992-2020 29 34 Intellectual Ventures
Alexander Reznicek [22] 976  USA 2006-2021 16 61 IBM
Jay S. Walker [23] 968  USA 1998-2020 23 42 Walker Digital
Michael J. Sullivan [24] 964  USA 1989-2020 32 30 Acushnet Holdings
John F. O'Connor [25] 949  USA 1901-1935 35 27 William H. Miner
Melvin De Groote [26] 925  USA 1924-1966 43 22 Petrolite
Nathan Myhrvold [27] 895  USA 1994-2020 27 33 Intellectual Ventures
Francis H. Richards [28] 894  USA 1899-1930 32 28 Francis H. Richards
Mark Malamud [29] 880  USA 1997-2020 24 37 Intellectual Ventures
Ahmadreza Rofougaran [30] 876  Iran 2002-2021 20 44 Broadcom
Robert W. Lord [31] 858  USA 2003-2020 18 48 Intellectual Ventures
Royce A. Levien [32] 850  USA 1997-2020 24 35 Intellectual Ventures
William H. Eby [33] 836  USA 1994-2020 27 31 Monsanto
Muriel Y. Ishikawa [34] 833  USA 2002-2020 19 44 Intellectual Ventures
Jason K. Resch [35] 802  USA 2009-2021 13 62 IBM
Michael K. Gschwind [36] 785  USA 2001-2021 21 37 IBM
Warren Farnworth [37] 773  USA 1990-2020 31 25 Micron
Salman Akram [38] 769  Nigeria 1995-2020 26 30 Micron
Carleton Ellis [39] 753  USA 1902-1946 45 17 Ellis Foster Co
Jeyhan Karaoguz [40] 753  USA 1996-2020 25 30 Broadcom
Clifford A. Pickover [41] 737  USA 1992-2021 30 25 IBM
Ali Khakifirooz [42] 735  Iran 2011-2021 11 67 IBM
Hideo Ando [43] 729  Japan 1983-2017 35 21 Toshiba
George Spector [44] 722  USA 1975-1998 24 30 George Spector
Austin L. Gurney [45] 716  USA 1999-2020 22 33 Genentech
John M. Santosuosso [46] 711  USA 2001-2021 21 34 IBM
Devendra K. Sadana [47] 702  India 1983-2021 39 18 IBM
Bruce B. Doris [48] 701  USA 1995-2021 27 26 IBM
Tetsujiro Kondo [49] 699  Japan 1987-2020 34 21 Sony
Elihu Thomson [50] 696  UK 1899-1935 37 19 GE
Ruilong Xie [51] 684  Singapore 2013-2021 9 76 IBM
Chih-Chao Yang [52] 683  Taiwan 2003-2021 19 36 IBM
Sarbajit K. Rakshit [53] 664  India 2013-2021 9 74 IBM
Eric C. Leuthardt [54] 660  USA 2006-2020 15 44 Intellectual Ventures
William I. Wood [55] 653  USA 1981-2016 36 18 Genentech
Simon R. Walmsley [56] 651  Australia 1995-2015 21 31 Silverbrook Research
Edward J. Nowak [57] 631  USA 1979-2021 43 15 IBM
Audrey D. Goddard [58] 626  USA 1997-2021 25 25 Genentech
Kie Y. Ahn [59] 614  USA 1976-2018 43 14 Micron
Irwin Gerszberg [60] 611  USA 1994-2021 28 22 AT&T
Esmael H. Dinan [61] 608  Iran 2006-2021 16 38 Ofinno
Jerome H. Lemelson [62] 606  USA 1953-2009 57 11 Jerome Lemelson
Gregory J. Boss [63] 603  USA 2008-2021 14 43 IBM
Tadahiro Ohmi [64] 597  Japan 1981-2018 38 16 Tadahiro Ohmi
Béla Barényi [65] 595  Austria 1939-1979 41 15 Daimler
Paul S. Henry [66] 588  USA 1978-2021 44 13 AT&T
Paul J. Godowski [67] 579  USA 1994-2014 21 28 Genentech
Artur Fischer [68] 570  Germany 1951-2006 56 10 Artur Fischer
Jeffrey P. Gambino [69] 569  USA 1992-2021 30 19 IBM
Lisa Seacat DeLuca [70] 568  USA 2009-2021 13 44 IBM
Victoria Y. H. Wood [71] 564  USA 2009-2020 12 47 Intellectual Ventures
Anthony K. Stamper [72] 554  USA 1998-2021 24 23 IBM
Kai-Li Jiang [73] 554  China 2006-2021 16 35 Hon Hai
Louis L. Hsu [74] 551  Taiwan 1988-2016 29 19 IBM
Ronald S. Cok [75] 546  USA 1986-2020 35 16 Kodak
Robert S. Langer [76] 545  USA 1983-2020 38 14 MIT
Edwin H. Land [77] 535  USA 1933-1990 58 9 Polaroid
Belgacem Haba [78] 530  Algeria 1991-2020 30 18 Tessera
Henri Dreyfus [79] 524   Switzerland 1916-1945 30 17 Henri Dreyfus
Frederick A. Ware [80] 518  USA 1981-2021 41 13 Rambus
Stuart C. Salter [81] 514  USA 2009-2021 13 40 Ford
Clyde C. Farmer [82] 513  USA 1905-1960 56 9 Westinghouse Air Brake
Heinz Focke [83] 512  Germany 1965-2013 49 10 Focke & Co.
Mark I. Gardner [84] 511  USA 1994-2010 17 30 AMD
Ravi K. Arimilli [85] 508  India 1992-2019 28 18 IBM
Farhad Barzegar [86] 504  Iran 1988-2021 34 15 AT&T
Louis H. Morin [87] 503  USA 1924-1969 46 11 Louis H. Morin
Tobin A. King [88] 501  Australia 2000-2018 19 26 Silverbrook Research
Tenko Yamashita [89] 497  USA 2005-2021 17 29 IBM
Stephen E. Terry [90] 492  USA 2003-2020 18 27 InterDigital
Pouya Hashemi [91] 490  USA 2013-2021 9 54 IBM
James M. Hart [92] 487  USA 1988-2019 32 15 General Motors
Lawrence A. Clevenger [93] 482  USA 1996-2020 25 19 IBM
Jack A. Mandelman [94] 481  USA 1987-2014 28 17 IBM
Muhammad A. Kazmi [95] 479  Sweden 2010-2021 12 40 Ericsson
Brian M. O'Connell [96] 477  USA 2009-2020 12 40 IBM
Thomas M. Willis III [97] 476  USA 2006-2021 16 30 AT&T
John L. Melanson [98] 476  USA 1978-2021 44 11 Cirrus Logic
Akira Nakazawa [99] 461  Australia 1980-2020 41 11 Silverbrook Research
Valentina Salapura [100] 458  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2004-2021 18 25 IBM
Eberhard Ammermann [101] 451  Germany 1979-2015 37 12 BASF
Vincent J. Zimmer [102] 450  USA 1999-2021 23 20 Intel
Thomas E. Murray [103] 449  USA 1891-1940 50 9 Thomas E. Murray
Brent A. Anderson [104] 449  USA 2001-2021 21 21 IBM
Hongyong Zhang [105] 440  Japan 1993-2016 24 18 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory
Scott H. Wittkopp [106] 435  USA 2001-2020 20 22 General Motors
Xuemin (Sherman) Chen [107] 427  China 1997-2020 24 18 Broadcom
Robert Bennett [108] 420  USA 2002-2021 20 21 AT&T
John Hays Hammond, Jr. [109] 417  USA 1912-1967 56 7 John Hays Hammond, Jr.
Hossein Eslambolchi [110] 416  USA 1993-2019 27 15 AT&T
Donald J. Barnickel [111] 416  USA 2000-2021 22 19 AT&T
Cary L. Bates [112] 414  USA 1994-2020 27 15 IBM
Wilhelm Brandes [113] 411  Germany 1976-2010 35 12 Bayer
Michael (S.) Tsirkin [114] 411  Israel 2012-2020 9 46 Red Hat
Gary W. Grube [115] 407  USA 1991-2021 31 13 IBM
Bengt Lindoff [116] 404  Sweden 2000-2020 21 19 Ericsson
Stanford R. Ovshinsky [117] 400  USA 1952-2012 61 7 Energy Conversion Devices
Assaf Natanzon [118] 393  Israel 2007-2021 15 26 EMC
Paul Marinier [119] 390  Canada 2004-2020 17 23 InterDigital
Jeffrey E. Stahmann [120] 389  USA 1994-2021 28 14 Cardiac Pacemakers
Josef Theurer [121] 388  Austria 1958-2016 59 7 Plasser & Theurer
David V. Horak [122] 388  USA 1992-2020 29 13 IBM
Paul W. Dent [123] 386  USA 1984-2020 37 10 Ericsson
Wael W. Diab [124] 384  USA 2003-2020 18 21 Broadcom
Timothy J. Slegel [125] 383  USA 1993-2021 29 13 IBM
Dean L. Kamen [126] 380  USA 1979-2021 43 9 DEKA
George P. Liang [127] 379  China 1983-2018 36 11 Florida Turbine Technologies
Greg R. Dhuse [128] 379  USA 2011-2020 10 38 IBM
James E. Bostick [129] 378  USA 1993-2021 29 13 IBM
Hans-Joachim Santel [130] 377  Germany 1986-2013 28 13 Bayer
Elizabeth A. Sweeney [131] 376  USA 2010-2020 11 34 Intellectual Ventures
Gisela Lorenz [132] 374  Germany 1990-2015 26 14 BASF
William Daniel Hillis [133] 372  USA 1986-2021 36 10 Intellectual Ventures
Garry R. Jackson [134] 367  Australia 2001-2016 16 23 Silverbrook Research
Philip D. Nguyen [135] 366  USA 1992-2020 29 13 Halliburton
Carl J. Radens [136] 364  USA 1994-2020 27 13 IBM
Norman M. Berry [137] 363  Australia 2006-2020 15 24 Silverbrook Research
George Westinghouse [138] 361  USA 1873-1918 46 8 George Westinghouse
John M. Ganci [139] 360  USA 2009-2021 13 28 IBM
Patrick J. O'Sullivan [140] 360  Ireland 2008-2021 14 26 IBM
Hanson S. Gifford III [141] 358  USA 1986-2021 36 10 Medtronic
Mark W. Kroll [142] 356  USA 1987-2020 34 10 Pacesetter
Wesley B. Legette [143] 353  USA 2011-2021 11 32 IBM
Ajith K. Kumar [144] 351  India 1984-2020 37 9 GE
Keith R. Walker [145] 351  Saudi Arabia 2003-2021 19 18 IBM
Robert R. Schmidt [146] 350  Germany 1971-2005 35 10 Bayer
Siddharth S. Oroskar [147] 345  India 2010-2020 11 31 Sprint
Daniel J. Winarski [148] 343  USA 1982-2021 40 9 IBM
Steven L. Teig [149] 343  USA 1995-2021 27 13 Cadence Design Systems
Andrew D. Baptist [150] 342  USA 2012-2021 10 34 IBM
Paul K. Dellock [151] 342  USA 2002-2021 20 17 Ford
Kulvir S. Bhogal [152] 336  USA 2003-2020 18 19 IBM
Jennifer L. Hillman [153] 332  USA 1997-2014 18 18 Incyte
Chung-Lung (Kevin) Shum [154] 332  USA 2001-2021 21 16 IBM
Jasinder P. Singh [155] 329  USA 2010-2020 11 30 Sprint
Andrew J. Ouderkirk [156] 329  USA 1989-2021 33 10 3M
Bor Z. Jang [157] 325  Taiwan 1996-2021 26 12 Nanotek Instruments
Liang Liu [158] 322  China 2005-2020 16 20 Hon Hai
Frank J. Viola [159] 319  USA 1981-2021 41 8 Covidien
Cyprian E. Uzoh [160] 319  Nigeria 1998-2021 24 13 Invensas
Victor S. Moore [161] 315  USA 1982-2020 39 8 IBM
Stefan Parkvall [162] 312  Sweden 2003-2021 19 16 Ericsson
Victoria Smith [163] 308  USA 2006-2017 12 26 Genentech
Paul R. Bastide [164] 304  USA 2013-2021 9 34 IBM
Ramachandra Divakaruni [165] 303  India 2000-2020 21 14 IBM
Aruna Zhamu [166] 303  USA 2009-2021 13 23 Nanotek Instruments
Christopher B. Locke [167] 299  UK 2010-2021 12 25 KCI
Robert G. LeTourneau [168] 299  USA 1936-1968 33 9 LeTourneau Technologies
Sandeep R. Patil [169] 299  India 2008-2021 14 21 IBM
Dorin Comaniciu [170] 298  USA 2003-2021 19 16 Siemens
Christian P. Jacobi [171] 298  Germany 1999-2021 23 13 IBM
Daniel C. Edelstein [172] 294  USA 1991-2021 31 9 IBM
Robert Baldemair [173] 294  Sweden 2007-2021 15 20 Ericsson
William R. Tonti [174] 292  USA 1994-2020 27 11 IBM
Zine-Eddine Boutaghou [175] 290  Algeria 1994-2018 25 12 Seagate Technology
Brent Keeth [176] 290  USA 1994-2020 27 11 Micron
Adam Heller [177] 289  Romania 1968-2020 53 5 Abbott Laboratories
Madhusudan K. Iyengar [178] 289  India 2005-2020 16 18 IBM
Jeffrey W. Sleight [179] 288  USA 1998-2020 23 13 IBM
Hui Zang [180] 285  USA 2014-2021 8 36 GlobalFoundries
Michael A. Rothman [181] 281  USA 2001-2020 20 14 Intel
Christopher J. Dawson [182] 279  USA 2006-2021 16 17 IBM
Zvi Or-Bach [183] 276  USA 1982-2021 40 7 MonolithIC 3D Inc.
Takeshi Chujoh [184] 273  Japan 1995-2020 26 10 Toshiba
Michael L. Fripp [185] 273  USA 2004-2020 17 16 Halliburton
Bran Ferren [186] 273  USA 1986-2021 36 8 Intellectual Ventures
Craig E. Hampel [187] 273  USA 1996-2021 26 10 Rambus
Hartley Owen [188] 267  USA 1976-2010 35 8 Mobil
Olga Bandman [189] 266  Russia 1997-2018 22 12 Incyte
Eran Steinberg [190] 266  Israel 1996-2020 25 11 FotoNation
Rajiv V. Joshi [191] 266  USA 1986-2020 35 8 IBM
Sheldon K. Meredith [192] 265  USA 1996-2021 26 10 AT&T
Corville O. Allen [193] 264  Jamaica 2009-2021 13 20 IBM
Diana Pani [194] 259  Canada 2008-2020 13 20 InterDigital
Yoshihiro Kikuchi [195] 258  Japan 1994-2018 25 10 Toshiba
Gary D. Cudak [196] 257  USA 2013-2021 9 29 Lenovo
Martin G. Keen [197] 257  UK 2016-2021 6 43 IBM
Harry (Tom) Graef [198] 256  USA 1976-2020 45 6 Diebold Nixdorf
Santokh S. Badesha [199] 255  India 1983-2020 38 7 Xerox
Imad Libbus [200] 254  USA 2007-2021 15 17 Cardiac Pacemakers
Matthew B. Trevathan [201] 253  USA 2005-2020 16 16 IBM
Johnny M. Shieh [202] 248  USA 1996-2020 25 10 IBM
Stephen M. Trimberger [203] 248  USA 1988-2020 33 8 Xilinx
Ilya Volvovski [204] 248  Russia 2011-2021 11 23 IBM
Nobuyuki Taniguchi [205] 245  Japan 1979-2015 37 7 Minolta
Louis B. Rosenberg [206] 245  USA 1995-2020 26 9 Immersion
Nathan J. Peterson [207] 243  USA 2006-2021 16 15 Lenovo
Dale W. Malik [208] 242  USA 1995-2020 26 9 AT&T
Philip S. Yu [209] 240  USA 1982-2018 37 6 IBM
Seung H. Kang [210] 240  USA 2002-2020 19 13 Qualcomm
James R. Kraemer [211] 239  USA 2008-2020 13 18 IBM
Thomas J. Kennedy III [212] 236  USA 1992-2020 29 8 Callaway
Gerald F. McBrearty [213] 236  USA 1997-2020 24 10 IBM
Mark A. Horowitz [214] 236  USA 1993-2020 28 8 Rambus
Choonghyun Lee [215] 236  USA 2017-2021 5 47 IBM
Stephen G. Perlman [216] 235  USA 1989-2021 33 7 Sony
Al Chakra [217] 234  Lebanon 2010-2020 11 21 IBM
David C. Gibbon [218] 233  USA 1995-2021 27 9 AT&T
Xin Miao [219] 233  USA 2016-2021 6 39 IBM
Benzion Landa [220] 231  Israel 1976-2021 46 5 Savin
Ilyas Mohammed [221] 231  USA 2003-2021 19 12 Tessera
Iana Siomina [222] 231  Sweden 2012-2021 10 23 Ericsson
Burkay Donderici [223] 227  Turkey 2014-2021 8 28 Halliburton
James W. Seaman [224] 225  USA 2005-2020 16 14 IBM
Dureseti Chidambarrao [225] 225  USA 1995-2020 26 9 IBM
John A. Colgrove [226] 225  USA 1991-2021 31 7 Pure Storage
S. Christopher Gladwin [227] 224  USA 1999-2021 23 10 IBM
Michael A. Guillorn [228] 223  USA 2003-2020 18 12 IBM
Vijay Narayanan [229] 221  USA 2004-2021 18 12 IBM
Paul Ian Mackey [230] 220  Australia 2008-2016 9 24 Silverbrook Research
Maulik K. Shah [231] 220  USA 2011-2020 10 22 Sprint
Mukta Ghate Farooq [232] 220  India 1993-2020 28 8 IBM
Daniel Larsson [233] 219  Sweden 2012-2021 10 22 Ericsson
Aaron K. Baughman [234] 219  USA 2011-2021 11 20 IBM
Martin Langhammer [235] 215  Canada 2001-2020 20 11 Altera
Kunal R. Parekh [236] 214  USA 1996-2020 25 9 Micron
Sebastian T. Ventrone [237] 214  USA 1989-2020 32 7 IBM
Jed H. Rankin [238] 214  USA 2000-2020 21 10 IBM
Jonathan J. Hull [239] 214  USA 1995-2020 26 8 Ricoh
Rajarshi Gupta [240] 214  India 2004-2020 17 13 Qualcomm
Bruce B. Pedersen [241] 213  USA 1992-2020 29 7 Altera
Gregory J. McAvoy [242] 212  Ireland 2003-2020 18 12 Silverbrook Research
Shuji Nakamura [243] 211  Japan 1994-2020 27 8 UC Santa Barbara
Sergey Y. Shumarayev [244] 210  Russia 2001-2019 19 11 Altera
Rhonda L. Childress [245] 210  USA 2004-2021 18 12 IBM
Steven J. Simske [246] 209  USA 2007-2021 15 14 HP
Arup Bhattacharyya [247] 207  India 1974-2021 48 4 Micron
David M. Durham [248] 206  USA 2003-2021 19 11 Intel
Hiroshi (You) Yoshioka [249] 205  Japan 1997-2015 19 11 Toshiba
Patrick B. Usoro [250] 205  USA 1999-2016 18 11 General Motors
Robert E. Fischell [251] 205  USA 1963-2020 58 4 Angel Medical Systems
Paul W. Coteus [252] 205  USA 1992-2020 29 7 IBM
Fredrik Gunnarsson [253] 205  Sweden 2002-2021 20 10 Ericsson
Michael K. Bugenhagen [254] 205  USA 2008-2021 14 15 Lumen Technologies
Craig M. Trim [255] 204  USA 2013-2021 9 23 IBM
Sadeg M. Faris [256] 202  Libya 1979-2018 40 5 Reveo

This table is usually updated every Tuesday evening in US Eastern time, and is current as of January 19, 2021.

The columns are defined as follows:

  • Inventor: The name of the inventor.
  • Patents: The number of utility patents that have been issued. Only utility patents (or the international equivalent) are listed, as a utility patent is a patent for an invention. Not all patents are for inventions. Other patent types include: design patents for the ornamental design of an object; plant patents for plant varieties; and reissue patents, where a correction is made to an already granted patent. This list does not include patent applications (patents pending) as there is no guarantee that a patent application actually describes a novel invention until the patent is granted.
  • Country: The country of birth or upbringing of the inventor, where known. If unknown, this is the country of residence identified in the inventor's patent filings.
  • Patent Years: The first and last year in which an inventor received a patent issuance.
  • Years: The number of years between and including the first and last year in which an inventor received a patent issuance.
  • Patents / Year: The average number of patents received per year [Patents column divided by Years column, rounded].
  • Majority assignment: The entity that has the most patents assigned from an inventor's portfolio. This is current and not original assignment. It is usually, but not always an indication of which company the inventor worked at for the majority of their patent activity.

Threshold for inclusion[edit]

As the average number of patents per inventor is around 3, some sources define prolific inventors as five times above the average (in terms of patents), leading to a threshold of 15 patents.[257] However, this table currently has an arbitrary cut-off limit for inclusion of 200 patents. This is purely for practical reasons – there are tens of thousands of inventors with more than 15 patents. The threshold of 200 patents means that some famous prolific inventors such as Nikola Tesla are not included in this list, as Tesla had 111 patents.[258][259]

Significance of inventions[edit]

This table is a sortable list of the most prolific inventors as measured by utility patents granted. It does not include other types of invention, such as inventions that were never applied for nor granted, for which there is no known source. Nor does the table attempt to measure the significance of an inventor and their inventions. The significance of inventions is often not apparent until many decades after the invention has been made. For recent inventors, it is not yet possible to determine their place in history.

The common symbol for inventiveness, the light bulb, is an example. The first incandescent light bulb was invented by British chemist Sir Humphry Davy in 1802. Many subsequent inventors improved Davy's invention prior to the successful commercialization of electric lighting by Thomas Edison in 1880, 78 years later. Electric lighting continued to be developed. Edison's carbon filament light bulb was made obsolete by the tungsten filament light bulb, invented in 1904 by Sándor Just and Franjo Hanaman. It is this that forms the popular conception of a light bulb, though there are other major forms of lighting. The principle of fluorescent lights was known since 1845, and various inventors, including Edison and Nikola Tesla worked on them without commercial success. Various improvements were made by many other inventors, until General Electric introduced "fluorescent lumiline lamps" commercially in 1938, first available to the public at the 1939 World's Fair. LED lamps also have a long history, with the first light-emitting diode (LED) invented in 1927 by Oleg Losev. LEDs were initially of low brightness, and have been used as indicator lamps and seven-segment displays since 1968. It wasn't until the development of high efficiency blue LEDs by Shuji Nakamura in the 1980s that white LEDs for lighting applications became practical. Although higher cost than incandescent light bulbs, LEDs have higher efficiency and longer life and may finally displace light bulbs in general lighting applications. In each case, more than 50 years passed between the initial invention and commercial success in general lighting applications.

Various published lists[edit]

Rankings of prolific inventors have been published at various times. However, until the patent records were digitized, these lists were very tedious to prepare, as many thousands of patent records had to be checked manually. Even after digitization, it is still not a simple process. While the USPTO keeps statistics for annual rankings of inventions assigned to companies, it no longer publishes rankings of individual inventors. The last such list was published by the USPTO in 1998.[260] Also, patents predating 1976 have not yet been digitized in the USPTO records. This means that patents before 1976 will not be included in a USPTO search by inventor name, and the number of patents granted before 1976 must be added to current searches.

Popular Science (1936)[edit]

In January 1936, Popular Science published a list of the "most prolific living inventors to be found in America today".

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 John F. O'Connor 949
2 Elihu Thomson 696
3 Carleton Ellis 648
4 Henry A. Wise Wood 434
5 John Hays Hammond Jr. 360
6 Clyde C. Farmer 344
7 Ethan I. Dodds 321
8 Edward Weston 309

Thomas Edison was not included in the list, as he died in 1931, five years earlier.

Time Magazine (2000)[edit]

On December 4, 2000, Time Magazine published a list of the "top five inventors".

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Thomas Edison 1,093
2 Melvin De Groote 925
3 Francis H. Richards 894
4 Elihu Thomson 696
5 Jerome Lemelson 554

This list only included U.S. inventors, so omitted Canadian inventor George Albert Lyon, with 993 U.S. patents at the time of publication, Japanese inventor Shunpei Yamazaki, with 745 U.S. patents, and Béla Barényi, with 595 German patents. Also omitted were John F. O'Connor with 949 U.S. patents, and Carleton Ellis, with 753 U.S. patents at the time of publication.

USA Today (2005)[edit]

On December 13, 2005, USA Today published a list of "the top 10 living U.S. patent holders":[261]

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Shunpei Yamazaki 1,432
2 Donald Weder 1,322
3 Kia Silverbrook 810
4 George Spector 723
5 Gurtej Sandhu 576
6 Warren Farnworth 547
7 Salman Akram 527
8 Mark Gardner 512
9 Heinz Focke 508
10 Joseph Straeter 477

This research was performed by ipIQ of Chicago (now "The Patent Board"[262]) and 1790 Analytics[263] of New Jersey. This list only considered living inventors, and thus did not include prolific inventors such as Thomas Edison, Melvin De Groote, and Elihu Thomson. This list included design patents, which are not patents for inventions.

Condé Nast Portfolio (2007)[edit]

On October 15, 2007, Condé Nast Portfolio Magazine published a list[264] of "the world's most prolific inventors alive":

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Shunpei Yamazaki 1,811
2 Kia Silverbrook 1,646
3 Donald Weder 1,350
4 George Spector 722
5 Gurtej Sandhu 674
6 Leonard Forbes 671
7 Warren Farnworth 635
8 Salman Akram 612
9 Mark Gardner 515
10 Joseph Straeter 485

This research was performed by The Patent Board,[262] a Chicago patent research and advisory firm. As with the USA Today list, the Portfolio list only considered living inventors, and thus did not include such prolific inventors as Thomas Edison. This list also included design patents, which are not patents for inventions.

Business Insider (2011)[edit]

On May 6, 2011, Business Insider published an article titled: "The Ten Greatest Inventors In The Modern Era"[3] containing the following list:

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Kia Silverbrook 3,847
2 Shunpei Yamazaki 2,061
3 Thomas Edison 1,084
4 George Albert Lyon 993
5 Paul Lapstun 969
6 Donald Weder 951
7 John F. O'Connor 949
8 Leonard Forbes 948
9 Melvin De Groote 925
10 Francis H. Richards 894

This list included living and dead inventors, and only included granted utility patents (patents for inventions).

Strutpatent.com (2012)[edit]

Strutpatent.com publishes a list of the "Top 10 Inventors"[265] listing inventors ranked by US patents (of all types) issued since 1990:

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Kia Silverbrook 4,279
2 Shunpei Yamazaki 1,664
3 Donald Weder 1,310
4 Paul Lapstun 1,098
5 Leonard Forbes 959
6 Gurtej Sandhu 728
7 Warren Farnworth 685
8 Salman Akram 653
9 Jay Walker 644
10 Chang-Hwan Hwang 634

This list included only patents granted since 1990, and includes design patents as well as utility patents.

Annual lists (2007–2012)[edit]

Strutpatent.com publishes weekly, monthly, and annual lists of the top ten categories, inventors and assignees of US patents since 2007. These lists include all patent types, not just patents for inventions (utility patents).

The top ten inventors of US patents for 2007:[266]

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Kia Silverbrook 502
2 Audrey Goddard 232
3 William I. Wood 232
4 Austin L. Gurney 225
5 Chang-Hwan Hwang 203
6 Paul J. Godowski 193
7 Shunpei Yamazaki 139
8 Paul Lapstun 129
9 Leonard Forbes 120
10 Victoria Smith 112

The top ten inventors of US patents for 2008:[267]

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Kia Silverbrook 576
2 Chang-Hwan Hwang 198
3 Audrey Goddard 168
4 Austin L. Gurney 167
5 William I. Wood 166
6 Paul J. Godowski 153
7 Shunpei Yamazaki 143
8 Paul Lapstun 137
9 Chang-Soo Lee 129
10 Victoria Smith 122

The top ten inventors of US patents for 2009:[268]

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Kia Silverbrook 444
2 Shunpei Yamazaki 137
3 Paul Lapstun 113
4 Bartley K. Andre 92
5 Daniele De Iuliis 92
6 Jonathan Ive 92
7 Matthew Rohrbach 92
8 Richard P. Howarth 91
9 Duncan Robert Kerr 91
10 Leonard Forbes 91

The top ten inventors of US patents for 2010:[269]

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Kia Silverbrook 709
2 Paul Lapstun 191
3 Shunpei Yamazaki 162
4 Simon Walmsley 115
5 Bartley K. Andre 114
6 Matthew Rohrbach 109
7 Richard P. Howarth 108
8 Jonathan Ive 108
9 Duncan Robert Kerr 108
10 Daniel J. Coster 106

The top ten inventors of US patents for 2011:[270]

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Kia Silverbrook 754
2 Paul Lapstun 268
3 Shunpei Yamazaki 163
4 Hideo Ando 162
5 You Yoshioka 153
6 Scott H. Wittkopp 126
7 James M. Hart 125
8 Edward Jung 112
9 Simon Walmsley 112
10 Jay S. Walker 99

The top ten inventors of US patents for 2012:[271]

Rank Inventor U.S. Patents
1 Kia Silverbrook 220
2 Edward Jung 180
3 Shunpei Yamazaki 172
4 Lowell Wood 169
5 Roderick Hyde 140
6 Bin Li 124
7 Royce Levien 122
8 Mark Malamud 119
9 Shunpei Yamazaki 118
10 John Rinaldo 117

This table omitted Rick Allen Hamilton II. The USPTO database shows Hamilton was an inventor or co-inventor of 128 US patents granted in 2012,[272] which would place Hamilton at 6th rank for 2012.

Differences between lists[edit]

Differences in patent numbers between the various lists are due to several reasons:

  • The lists were created on different dates. As many of the inventors in the lists are still active, the number of patents they hold are increasing.
  • While the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the primary source for U.S. patent information, only patents issued since 1976 can be electronically searched by the inventor's name at the USPTO website. For some of the listed inventors, such as Thomas Edison, all of their patents predate 1976, so other sources must be used.
  • Often entities list the worldwide total number of patents that they hold. This is not the same as the number of inventions, as a patent in one country may be for the same invention as a patent in another country. The set of patents covering a single invention in different countries is a Patent family.
  • The Time, USA Today and Portfolio lists show the total number of U.S. patents, including patents for designs (Design patents) as well as patents for inventions (Utility patents).
  • The annual lists from strutpatent.com list only those patents issued in the particular year to the inventor, not all of the inventor's patents.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas Alva Edison Biography at Rutgers University
  2. ^ List of Edison patents
  3. ^ a b The Ten Greatest Inventors In The Modern Era Business Insider, 6 May 2011
  4. ^ The True Inventor Basson-Booyens website
  5. ^ Patents of Shunpei Yamazaki
  6. ^ Patents of Kia Silverbrook
  7. ^ Patents of Kangguo Cheng
  8. ^ Patents of Lowell L. Wood, Jr.
  9. ^ Patents of Roderick A. Hyde
  10. ^ Patents of Jun Koyama
  11. ^ Patents of Gurtej Sandhu
  12. ^ Patents of Paul Lapstun
  13. ^ Patents of Clarence T. Tegreene
  14. ^ Patents of Shou-Shan Fan
  15. ^ Patents of Leonard Forbes
  16. ^ Patents of Edward K. Y. Jung
  17. ^ Patents of Thomas Edison
  18. ^ Patents of Rick Allen Hamilton II
  19. ^ Patents of Donald E. Weder
  20. ^ Patents of George Albert Lyon
  21. ^ Patents of Jordin T. Kare
  22. ^ Patents of Alexander Reznicek
  23. ^ Patents of Jay S. Walker
  24. ^ Patents of Michael J. Sullivan
  25. ^ Patents of John F. O'Connor
  26. ^ Patents of Melvin De Groote
  27. ^ Patents of Nathan Myhrvold
  28. ^ Patents of Francis H. Richards
  29. ^ Patents of Mark Malamud
  30. ^ Patents of Ahmadreza Rofougaran
  31. ^ Patents of Robert W. Lord
  32. ^ Patents of Royce A. Levien
  33. ^ Patents of William H. Eby
  34. ^ Patents of Muriel Y. Ishikawa
  35. ^ Patents of Jason K. Resch
  36. ^ Patents of Michael K. Gschwind
  37. ^ Patents of Warren Farnworth
  38. ^ Patents of Salman Akram
  39. ^ Patents of Carleton Ellis
  40. ^ Patents of Jeyhan Karaoguz
  41. ^ Patents of Clifford A. Pickover
  42. ^ Patents of Ali Khakifirooz
  43. ^ Patents of Hideo Ando
  44. ^ Patents of George Spector
  45. ^ Patents of Austin L. Gurney
  46. ^ Patents of John M. Santosuosso
  47. ^ Patents of Devendra K. Sadana
  48. ^ Patents of Bruce B. Doris
  49. ^ Patents of Tetsujiro Kondo
  50. ^ Patents of Elihu Thomson
  51. ^ Patents of Ruilong Xie
  52. ^ Patents of Chih-Chao Yang
  53. ^ Patents of Sarbajit K. Rakshit
  54. ^ Patents of Eric C. Leuthardt
  55. ^ Patents of William I. Wood
  56. ^ Patents of Simon R. Walmsley
  57. ^ Patents of Edward J. Nowak
  58. ^ Patents of Audrey D. Goddard
  59. ^ Patents of Kie Y. Ahn
  60. ^ Patents of Irwin Gerszberg
  61. ^ Patents of Esmael H. Dinan
  62. ^ Patents of Jerome H. Lemelson
  63. ^ Patents of Gregory J. Boss
  64. ^ Patents of Tadahiro Ohmi
  65. ^ Patents of Béla Barényi
  66. ^ Patents of Paul S. Henry
  67. ^ Patents of Paul J. Godowski
  68. ^ Patents of Artur Fischer
  69. ^ Patents of Jeffrey P. Gambino
  70. ^ Patents of Lisa Seacat DeLuca
  71. ^ Patents of Victoria Y. H. Wood
  72. ^ Patents of Anthony K. Stamper
  73. ^ Patents of Kai-Li Jiang
  74. ^ Patents of Louis L. Hsu
  75. ^ Patents of Ronald S. Cok
  76. ^ Patents of Robert S. Langer
  77. ^ Patents of Edwin H. Land
  78. ^ Patents of Belgacem Haba
  79. ^ Patents of Henri Dreyfus
  80. ^ Patents of Frederick A. Ware
  81. ^ Patents of Stuart C. Salter
  82. ^ Patents of Clyde C. Farmer
  83. ^ Patents of Heinz Focke
  84. ^ Patents of Mark I. Gardner
  85. ^ Patents of Ravi K. Arimilli
  86. ^ Patents of Farhad Barzegar
  87. ^ Patents of Louis H. Morin
  88. ^ Patents of Tobin A. King
  89. ^ Patents of Tenko Yamashita
  90. ^ Patents of Stephen E. Terry
  91. ^ Patents of Pouya Hashemi
  92. ^ Patents of James M. Hart
  93. ^ Patents of Lawrence A. Clevenger
  94. ^ Patents of Jack A. Mandelman
  95. ^ Patents of Muhammad A. Kazmi
  96. ^ Patents of Brian M. O'Connell
  97. ^ Patents of Thomas M. Willis III
  98. ^ Patents of John L. Melanson
  99. ^ Patents of Akira Nakazawa
  100. ^ Patents of Valentina Salapura
  101. ^ Patents of Eberhard Ammermann
  102. ^ Patents of Vincent J. Zimmer
  103. ^ Patents of Thomas E. Murray
  104. ^ Patents of Brent A. Anderson
  105. ^ Patents of Hongyong Zhang
  106. ^ Patents of Scott H. Wittkopp
  107. ^ Patents of Xuemin (Sherman) Chen
  108. ^ Patents of Robert Bennett
  109. ^ Patents of John Hays Hammond, Jr.
  110. ^ Patents of Hossein Eslambolchi
  111. ^ Patents of Donald J. Barnickel
  112. ^ Patents of Cary L. Bates
  113. ^ Patents of Wilhelm Brandes
  114. ^ Patents of Michael (S.) Tsirkin
  115. ^ Patents of Gary W. Grube
  116. ^ Patents of Bengt Lindoff
  117. ^ Patents of Stanford R. Ovshinsky
  118. ^ Patents of Assaf Natanzon
  119. ^ Patents of Paul Marinier
  120. ^ Patents of Jeffrey E. Stahmann
  121. ^ Patents of Josef Theurer
  122. ^ Patents of David V. Horak
  123. ^ Patents of Paul W. Dent
  124. ^ Patents of Wael W. Diab
  125. ^ Patents of Timothy J. Slegel
  126. ^ Patents of Dean L. Kamen
  127. ^ Patents of George P. Liang
  128. ^ Patents of Greg R. Dhuse
  129. ^ Patents of James E. Bostick
  130. ^ Patents of Hans-Joachim Santel
  131. ^ Patents of Elizabeth A. Sweeney
  132. ^ Patents of Gisela Lorenz
  133. ^ Patents of William Daniel Hillis
  134. ^ Patents of Garry R. Jackson
  135. ^ Patents of Philip D. Nguyen
  136. ^ Patents of Carl J. Radens
  137. ^ Patents of Norman M. Berry
  138. ^ Patents of George Westinghouse
  139. ^ Patents of John M. Ganci
  140. ^ Patents of Patrick J. O'Sullivan
  141. ^ Patents of Hanson S. Gifford III
  142. ^ Patents of Mark W. Kroll
  143. ^ Patents of Wesley B. Legette
  144. ^ Patents of Ajith K. Kumar
  145. ^ Patents of Keith R. Walker
  146. ^ Patents of Robert R. Schmidt
  147. ^ Patents of Siddharth S. Oroskar
  148. ^ Patents of Daniel J. Winarski
  149. ^ Patents of Steven L. Teig
  150. ^ Patents of Andrew D. Baptist
  151. ^ Patents of Paul K. Dellock
  152. ^ Patents of Kulvir S. Bhogal
  153. ^ Patents of Jennifer L. Hillman
  154. ^ Patents of Chung-Lung (Kevin) Shum
  155. ^ Patents of Jasinder P. Singh
  156. ^ Patents of Andrew J. Ouderkirk
  157. ^ Patents of Bor Z. Jang
  158. ^ Patents of Liang Liu
  159. ^ Patents of Frank J. Viola
  160. ^ Patents of Cyprian E. Uzoh
  161. ^ Patents of Victor S. Moore
  162. ^ Patents of Stefan Parkvall
  163. ^ Patents of Victoria Smith
  164. ^ Patents of Paul R. Bastide
  165. ^ Patents of Ramachandra Divakaruni
  166. ^ Patents of Aruna Zhamu
  167. ^ Patents of Christopher B. Locke
  168. ^ Patents of Robert G. LeTourneau
  169. ^ Patents of Sandeep R. Patil
  170. ^ Patents of Dorin Comaniciu
  171. ^ Patents of Christian P. Jacobi
  172. ^ Patents of Daniel C. Edelstein
  173. ^ Patents of Robert Baldemair
  174. ^ Patents of William R. Tonti
  175. ^ Patents of Zine-Eddine Boutaghou
  176. ^ Patents of Brent Keeth
  177. ^ Patents of Adam Heller
  178. ^ Patents of Madhusudan K. Iyengar
  179. ^ Patents of Jeffrey W. Sleight
  180. ^ Patents of Hui Zang
  181. ^ Patents of Michael A. Rothman
  182. ^ Patents of Christopher J. Dawson
  183. ^ Patents of Zvi Or-Bach
  184. ^ Patents of Takeshi Chujoh
  185. ^ Patents of Michael L. Fripp
  186. ^ Patents of Bran Ferren
  187. ^ Patents of Craig E. Hampel
  188. ^ Patents of Hartley Owen
  189. ^ Patents of Olga Bandman
  190. ^ Patents of Eran Steinberg
  191. ^ Patents of Rajiv V. Joshi
  192. ^ Patents of Sheldon K. Meredith
  193. ^ Patents of Corville O. Allen
  194. ^ Patents of Diana Pani
  195. ^ Patents of Yoshihiro Kikuchi
  196. ^ Patents of Gary D. Cudak
  197. ^ Patents of Martin G. Keen
  198. ^ Patents of Harry (Tom) Graef
  199. ^ Patents of Santokh S. Badesha
  200. ^ Patents of Imad Libbus
  201. ^ Patents of Matthew B. Trevathan
  202. ^ Patents of Johnny M. Shieh
  203. ^ Patents of Stephen M. Trimberger
  204. ^ Patents of Ilya Volvovski
  205. ^ Patents of Nobuyuki Taniguchi
  206. ^ Patents of Louis B. Rosenberg
  207. ^ Patents of Nathan J. Peterson
  208. ^ Patents of Dale W. Malik
  209. ^ Patents of Philip S. Yu
  210. ^ Patents of Seung H. Kang
  211. ^ Patents of James R. Kraemer
  212. ^ Patents of Thomas J. Kennedy III
  213. ^ Patents of Gerald F. McBrearty
  214. ^ Patents of Mark A. Horowitz
  215. ^ Patents of Choonghyun Lee
  216. ^ Patents of Stephen G. Perlman
  217. ^ Patents of Al Chakra
  218. ^ Patents of David C. Gibbon
  219. ^ Patents of Xin Miao
  220. ^ Patents of Benzion Landa
  221. ^ Patents of Ilyas Mohammed
  222. ^ Patents of Iana Siomina
  223. ^ Patents of Burkay Donderici
  224. ^ Patents of James W. Seaman
  225. ^ Patents of Dureseti Chidambarrao
  226. ^ Patents of John A. Colgrove
  227. ^ Patents of S. Christopher Gladwin
  228. ^ Patents of Michael A. Guillorn
  229. ^ Patents of Vijay Narayanan
  230. ^ Patents of Paul Ian Mackey
  231. ^ Patents of Maulik K. Shah
  232. ^ Patents of Mukta Ghate Farooq
  233. ^ Patents of Daniel Larsson
  234. ^ Patents of Aaron K. Baughman
  235. ^ Patents of Martin Langhammer
  236. ^ Patents of Kunal R. Parekh
  237. ^ Patents of Sebastian T. Ventrone
  238. ^ Patents of Jed H. Rankin
  239. ^ Patents of Jonathan J. Hull
  240. ^ Patents of Rajarshi Gupta
  241. ^ Patents of Bruce B. Pedersen
  242. ^ Patents of Gregory J. McAvoy
  243. ^ Patents of Shuji Nakamura
  244. ^ Patents of Sergey Y. Shumarayev
  245. ^ Patents of Rhonda L. Childress
  246. ^ Patents of Steven J. Simske
  247. ^ Patents of Arup Bhattacharyya
  248. ^ Patents of David M. Durham
  249. ^ Patents of Hiroshi (You) Yoshioka
  250. ^ Patents of Patrick B. Usoro
  251. ^ Patents of Robert E. Fischell
  252. ^ Patents of Paul W. Coteus
  253. ^ Patents of Fredrik Gunnarsson
  254. ^ Patents of Michael K. Bugenhagen
  255. ^ Patents of Craig M. Trim
  256. ^ Patents of Sadeg M. Faris
  257. ^ Prolific Inventors: Who are They and Where do They Locate? International Centre for Economic Research Working Paper No. 14/2010
  258. ^ List of Nikola Tesla patents
  259. ^ Jim Bieberich's Complete Nikola Tesla U.S. Patent Collection
  260. ^ USPTO publication: Prolific Inventors Receiving Utility Patents 1988-1997
  261. ^ You really can find identities of top patent holders USA Today, Dec 13, 2005
  262. ^ a b The Patent Board website
  263. ^ 1790 Analytics website
  264. ^ Masters of invention Portfolio, October 15, 2007
  265. ^ Strutpatent list of the top 10 inventors since 1990
  266. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2007 StrutPatent.com website
  267. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2008 StrutPatent.com website
  268. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2009 StrutPatent.com website
  269. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2010 StrutPatent.com website
  270. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2011 StrutPatent.com website
  271. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2012 StrutPatent.com website
  272. ^ USPTO Utility Patent Search for Rick Allen Hamilton II for 2012