List of prolific inventors

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 patentsEdit

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 Residence Patent Years Years Patents / Year Majority assignment
Shunpei Yamazaki [5] 5834   Japan 1972-2021 50 117 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory
Kia Silverbrook [6] 4747   Australia 1994-2018 25 190 Silverbrook Research
Kangguo Cheng [7] 2414   USA 2004-2021 18 134 IBM
Lowell L. Wood, Jr. [8] 1967   USA 1977-2021 45 44 Intellectual Ventures
Roderick A. Hyde [9] 1877   USA 2001-2021 21 89 Intellectual Ventures
Jun Koyama [10] 1431   Japan 1991-2021 31 46 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory
Gurtej Sandhu [11] 1372   USA 1991-2021 31 44 Micron
Paul Lapstun [12] 1298   Australia 2000-2021 22 59 Silverbrook Research
Clarence T. Tegreene [13] 1232   USA 2000-2021 22 56 Intellectual Ventures
Shou-Shan Fan [14] 1180   China 2006-2021 16 74 Hon Hai
Leonard Forbes [15] 1108   USA 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] 1028   USA 1999-2021 23 45 IBM
Alexander Reznicek [19] 1016   USA 2006-2021 16 64 IBM
Donald E. Weder [20] 1000   USA 1978-2017 40 25 Weder Family Trust
George Albert Lyon [21] 993   Canada 1901-1965 65 15 Lyon George Albert
Jordin T. Kare [22] 978   USA 1992-2020 29 34 Intellectual Ventures
Michael J. Sullivan [23] 970   USA 1989-2021 33 29 Acushnet Holdings
Jay S. Walker [24] 968   USA 1998-2020 23 42 Walker Digital
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
Ahmadreza Rofougaran [29] 881   USA 2002-2021 20 44 Broadcom
Mark Malamud [30] 880   USA 1997-2020 24 37 Intellectual Ventures
Robert W. Lord [31] 858   USA 2003-2020 18 48 Intellectual Ventures
Royce A. Levien [32] 850   USA 1997-2020 24 35 Intellectual Ventures
Jason K. Resch [33] 838   USA 2009-2021 13 64 IBM
William H. Eby [34] 836   USA 1994-2020 27 31 Monsanto
Muriel Y. Ishikawa [35] 833   USA 2002-2020 19 44 Intellectual Ventures
Michael K. Gschwind [36] 800   USA 2001-2021 21 38 IBM
Warren Farnworth [37] 773   USA 1990-2020 31 25 Micron
Salman Akram [38] 771   USA 1995-2021 27 29 Micron
Clifford A. Pickover [39] 766   USA 1992-2021 30 26 IBM
Jeyhan Karaoguz [40] 755   USA 1996-2021 26 29 Broadcom
Carleton Ellis [41] 753   USA 1902-1946 45 17 Ellis Foster Co
Ali Khakifirooz [42] 739   USA 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
Devendra K. Sadana [45] 721   USA 1983-2021 39 18 IBM
Ruilong Xie [46] 721   USA 2013-2021 9 80 IBM
John M. Santosuosso [47] 718   USA 2001-2021 21 34 IBM
Austin L. Gurney [48] 716   USA 1999-2020 22 33 Genentech
Sarbajit K. Rakshit [49] 716   India 2013-2021 9 80 IBM
Bruce B. Doris [50] 709   USA 1995-2021 27 26 IBM
Chih-Chao Yang [51] 709   USA 2003-2021 19 37 IBM
Tetsujiro Kondo [52] 699   Japan 1987-2020 34 21 Sony
Elihu Thomson [53] 696   USA 1899-1935 37 19 GE
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
Esmael H. Dinan [57] 639   USA 2006-2021 16 40 Ofinno
Edward J. Nowak [58] 634   USA 1979-2021 43 15 IBM
Irwin Gerszberg [59] 634   USA 1994-2021 28 23 AT&T
Gregory J. Boss [60] 632   USA 2008-2021 14 45 IBM
Audrey D. Goddard [61] 626   USA 1997-2021 25 25 Genentech
Kie Y. Ahn [62] 614   USA 1976-2018 43 14 Micron
Paul S. Henry [63] 614   USA 1978-2021 44 14 AT&T
Jerome H. Lemelson [64] 606   USA 1953-2009 57 11 Jerome Lemelson
Tadahiro Ohmi [65] 597   Japan 1981-2018 38 16 Tadahiro Ohmi
Béla Barényi [66] 595   Austria 1939-1979 41 15 Daimler
Lisa Seacat DeLuca [67] 595   USA 2009-2021 13 46 IBM
Paul J. Godowski [68] 579   USA 1994-2014 21 28 Genentech
Jeffrey P. Gambino [69] 573   USA 1992-2021 30 19 IBM
Artur Fischer [70] 570   Germany 1951-2006 56 10 Artur Fischer
Victoria Y. H. Wood [71] 565   USA 2009-2021 13 43 Intellectual Ventures
Anthony K. Stamper [72] 564   USA 1998-2021 24 24 IBM
Kai-Li Jiang [73] 558   China 2006-2021 16 35 Hon Hai
Ronald S. Cok [74] 554   USA 1986-2021 36 15 Kodak
Louis L. Hsu [75] 551   Taiwan 1988-2016 29 19 IBM
Robert S. Langer [76] 551   USA 1983-2021 39 14 MIT
Edwin H. Land [77] 535   USA 1933-1990 58 9 Polaroid
Belgacem Haba [78] 535   USA 1991-2021 31 17 Tessera
Stuart C. Salter [79] 529   USA 2009-2021 13 41 Ford
Farhad Barzegar [80] 525   USA 1988-2021 34 15 AT&T
Henri Dreyfus [81] 524    Switzerland 1916-1945 30 17 Henri Dreyfus
Frederick A. Ware [82] 521   USA 1981-2021 41 13 Rambus
Clyde C. Farmer [83] 513   USA 1905-1960 56 9 Westinghouse Air Brake
Heinz Focke [84] 512   Germany 1965-2013 49 10 Focke & Co.
Pouya Hashemi [85] 512   USA 2013-2021 9 57 IBM
Mark I. Gardner [86] 511   USA 1994-2010 17 30 AMD
Ravi K. Arimilli [87] 508   USA 1992-2019 28 18 IBM
Lawrence A. Clevenger [88] 508   USA 1996-2021 26 20 IBM
Tenko Yamashita [89] 506   USA 2005-2021 17 30 IBM
Louis H. Morin [90] 503   USA 1924-1969 46 11 Louis H. Morin
Tobin A. King [91] 501   Australia 2000-2018 19 26 Silverbrook Research
Thomas M. Willis III [92] 500   USA 2006-2021 16 31 AT&T
Stephen E. Terry [93] 493   USA 2003-2021 19 26 InterDigital
Muhammad A. Kazmi [94] 491   Sweden 2010-2021 12 41 Ericsson
James M. Hart [95] 487   USA 1988-2019 32 15 General Motors
Brian M. O'Connell [96] 483   USA 2009-2021 13 37 IBM
Valentina Salapura [97] 482   USA 2004-2021 18 27 IBM
Jack A. Mandelman [98] 481   USA 1987-2014 28 17 IBM
John L. Melanson [99] 479   USA 1978-2021 44 11 Cirrus Logic
Brent A. Anderson [100] 461   USA 2001-2021 21 22 IBM
Vincent J. Zimmer [101] 452   USA 1999-2021 23 20 Intel
Eberhard Ammermann [102] 451   Germany 1979-2015 37 12 BASF
Thomas E. Murray [103] 449   USA 1891-1940 50 9 Thomas E. Murray
Robert Bennett [104] 441   USA 2002-2021 20 22 AT&T
Hongyong Zhang [105] 440   Japan 1993-2016 24 18 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory
Donald J. Barnickel [106] 436   USA 2000-2021 22 20 AT&T
Scott H. Wittkopp [107] 435   USA 2001-2020 20 22 General Motors
Xuemin (Sherman) Chen [108] 429   USA 1997-2021 25 17 Broadcom
Michael (S.) Tsirkin [109] 426   USA 2012-2021 10 43 Red Hat
Gary W. Grube [110] 419   USA 1991-2021 31 14 IBM
John Hays Hammond, Jr. [111] 417   USA 1912-1967 56 7 John Hays Hammond, Jr.
Hossein Eslambolchi [112] 417   USA 1993-2021 29 14 AT&T
Assaf Natanzon [113] 417   Israel 2007-2021 15 28 EMC
Cary L. Bates [114] 414   USA 1994-2020 27 15 IBM
Wilhelm Brandes [115] 411   Germany 1976-2010 35 12 Bayer
Bengt Lindoff [116] 410   Sweden 2000-2021 22 19 Ericsson
Stanford R. Ovshinsky [117] 400   USA 1952-2012 61 7 Energy Conversion Devices
James E. Bostick [118] 400   USA 1993-2021 29 14 IBM
Paul Marinier [119] 398   USA 2004-2021 18 22 InterDigital
Akira Nakazawa [120] 393   Australia 1980-2016 37 11 Silverbrook Research
Jeffrey E. Stahmann [121] 393   USA 1994-2021 28 14 Cardiac Pacemakers
Timothy J. Slegel [122] 393   USA 1993-2021 29 14 IBM
Greg R. Dhuse [123] 391   USA 2011-2021 11 36 IBM
Dean L. Kamen [124] 390   USA 1979-2021 43 9 DEKA
Paul W. Dent [125] 389   USA 1984-2021 38 10 Ericsson
Josef Theurer [126] 388   Austria 1958-2016 59 7 Plasser & Theurer
David V. Horak [127] 388   USA 1992-2020 29 13 IBM
Wael W. Diab [128] 385   USA 2003-2021 19 20 Broadcom
John M. Ganci [129] 383   USA 2009-2021 13 29 IBM
Hans-Joachim Santel [130] 377   Germany 1986-2013 28 13 Bayer
Elizabeth A. Sweeney [131] 376   USA 2010-2020 11 34 Intellectual Ventures
Philip D. Nguyen [132] 375   USA 1992-2021 30 12 Halliburton
Gisela Lorenz [133] 374   Germany 1990-2015 26 14 BASF
William Daniel Hillis [134] 372   USA 1986-2021 36 10 Intellectual Ventures
George P. Liang [135] 371   USA 1983-2017 35 11 Florida Turbine Technologies
Norman M. Berry [136] 370   Australia 2006-2021 16 23 Silverbrook Research
Garry R. Jackson [137] 367   Australia 2001-2016 16 23 Silverbrook Research
Carl J. Radens [138] 367   USA 1994-2021 28 13 IBM
Wesley B. Legette [139] 366   USA 2011-2021 11 33 IBM
Hanson S. Gifford III [140] 363   USA 1986-2021 36 10 Medtronic
Patrick J. O'Sullivan [141] 362   Ireland 2008-2021 14 26 IBM
George Westinghouse [142] 361   USA 1873-1918 46 8 George Westinghouse
Andrew D. Baptist [143] 359   USA 2012-2021 10 36 IBM
Mark W. Kroll [144] 356   USA 1987-2020 34 10 Pacesetter
Keith R. Walker [145] 354   USA 2003-2021 19 19 IBM
Ajith K. Kumar [146] 354   USA 1984-2021 38 9 GE
Bor Z. Jang [147] 354   USA 1996-2021 26 14 Nanotek Instruments
Paul K. Dellock [148] 354   USA 2002-2021 20 18 Ford
Andrew J. Ouderkirk [149] 352   USA 1989-2021 33 11 3M
Robert R. Schmidt [150] 350   Germany 1971-2005 35 10 Bayer
Steven L. Teig [151] 348   USA 1995-2021 27 13 Cadence Design Systems
Siddharth S. Oroskar [152] 346   USA 2010-2021 12 29 Sprint
Daniel J. Winarski [153] 346   USA 1982-2021 40 9 IBM
Kulvir S. Bhogal [154] 341   USA 2003-2021 19 18 IBM
Chung-Lung (Kevin) Shum [155] 338   USA 2001-2021 21 16 IBM
Jennifer L. Hillman [156] 332   USA 1997-2014 18 18 Incyte
Jasinder P. Singh [157] 330   USA 2010-2021 12 28 Sprint
Paul R. Bastide [158] 328   USA 2013-2021 9 36 IBM
Aruna Zhamu [159] 327   USA 2009-2021 13 25 Nanotek Instruments
Stefan Parkvall [160] 327   Sweden 2003-2021 19 17 Ericsson
Liang Liu [161] 322   China 2005-2020 16 20 Hon Hai
Cyprian E. Uzoh [162] 322   USA 1998-2021 24 13 Invensas
Christopher B. Locke [163] 321   UK 2010-2021 12 27 KCI
Frank J. Viola [164] 320   USA 1981-2021 41 8 Covidien
Robert Baldemair [165] 316   Sweden 2007-2021 15 21 Ericsson
Victor S. Moore [166] 315   USA 1982-2020 39 8 IBM
Christian P. Jacobi [167] 312   USA 1999-2021 23 14 IBM
Sandeep R. Patil [168] 311   India 2008-2021 14 22 IBM
Victoria Smith [169] 308   USA 2006-2017 12 26 Genentech
Ramachandra Divakaruni [170] 304   USA 2000-2021 22 14 IBM
Dorin Comaniciu [171] 300   USA 2003-2021 19 16 Siemens
Robert G. LeTourneau [172] 299   USA 1936-1968 33 9 LeTourneau Technologies
Daniel C. Edelstein [173] 294   USA 1991-2021 31 9 IBM
Hui Zang [174] 293   USA 2014-2021 8 37 GlobalFoundries
William R. Tonti [175] 292   USA 1994-2020 27 11 IBM
Brent Keeth [176] 292   USA 1994-2021 28 10 Micron
Madhusudan K. Iyengar [177] 291   USA 2005-2021 17 17 IBM
Adam Heller [178] 291   USA 1968-2021 54 5 Abbott Laboratories
Zine-Eddine Boutaghou [179] 290   USA 1994-2018 25 12 Seagate Technology
Jeffrey W. Sleight [180] 288   USA 1998-2020 23 13 IBM
Christopher J. Dawson [181] 286   USA 2006-2021 16 18 IBM
Zvi Or-Bach [182] 286   USA 1982-2021 40 7 MonolithIC 3D Inc.
Michael L. Fripp [183] 283   USA 2004-2021 18 16 Halliburton
Michael A. Rothman [184] 282   USA 2001-2021 21 13 Intel
Martin G. Keen [185] 279   USA 2016-2021 6 46 IBM
Corville O. Allen [186] 277   USA 2009-2021 13 21 IBM
Takeshi Chujoh [187] 276   Japan 1995-2021 27 10 Toshiba
Choonghyun Lee [188] 275   USA 2017-2021 5 55 IBM
Craig E. Hampel [189] 274   USA 1996-2021 26 11 Rambus
Bran Ferren [190] 274   USA 1986-2021 36 8 Intellectual Ventures
Sheldon K. Meredith [191] 272   USA 1996-2021 26 10 AT&T
Ned M. Smith [192] 271   USA 2007-2021 15 18 Intel
Rajiv V. Joshi [193] 268   USA 1986-2021 36 7 IBM
Hartley Owen [194] 267   USA 1976-2010 35 8 Mobil
Olga Bandman [195] 266   USA 1997-2018 22 12 Incyte
Eran Steinberg [196] 266   USA 1996-2020 25 11 FotoNation
Diana Pani [197] 266   Canada 2008-2021 14 19 InterDigital
Gary D. Cudak [198] 262   USA 2013-2021 9 29 Lenovo
Ilya Volvovski [199] 261   USA 2011-2021 11 24 IBM
Imad Libbus [200] 259   USA 2007-2021 15 17 Cardiac Pacemakers
Yoshihiro Kikuchi [201] 258   Japan 1994-2018 25 10 Toshiba
Harry (Tom) Graef [202] 256   USA 1976-2020 45 6 Diebold Nixdorf
Santokh S. Badesha [203] 256   USA 1983-2021 39 7 Xerox
Nathan J. Peterson [204] 256   USA 2006-2021 16 16 Lenovo
Xin Miao [205] 255   USA 2016-2021 6 42 IBM
Matthew B. Trevathan [206] 253   USA 2005-2020 16 16 IBM
Johnny M. Shieh [207] 252   USA 1996-2021 26 10 IBM
Burkay Donderici [208] 249   USA 2014-2021 8 31 Halliburton
Stephen M. Trimberger [209] 248   USA 1988-2020 33 8 Xilinx
Al Chakra [210] 247   USA 2010-2021 12 21 IBM
Nobuyuki Taniguchi [211] 245   Japan 1979-2015 37 7 Minolta
Louis B. Rosenberg [212] 245   USA 1995-2020 26 9 Immersion
David C. Gibbon [213] 244   USA 1995-2021 27 9 AT&T
Dale W. Malik [214] 243   USA 1995-2021 27 9 AT&T
James R. Kraemer [215] 242   USA 2008-2021 14 17 IBM
Gerald F. McBrearty [216] 241   USA 1997-2021 25 10 IBM
Benzion Landa [217] 241   Israel 1976-2021 46 5 Savin
Philip S. Yu [218] 240   USA 1982-2018 37 6 IBM
Seung H. Kang [219] 240   USA 2002-2020 19 13 Qualcomm
Thomas J. Kennedy III [220] 238   USA 1992-2021 30 8 Callaway
Ilyas Mohammed [221] 238   USA 2003-2021 19 13 Tessera
Stephen G. Perlman [222] 238   USA 1989-2021 33 7 Sony
Iana Siomina [223] 238   Sweden 2012-2021 10 24 Ericsson
Mark A. Horowitz [224] 236   USA 1993-2020 28 8 Rambus
John A. Colgrove [225] 235   USA 1991-2021 31 8 Pure Storage
Marco Pistoia [226] 234   USA 2006-2021 16 15 IBM
Aaron K. Baughman [227] 231   USA 2011-2021 11 21 IBM
S. Christopher Gladwin [228] 229   USA 1999-2021 23 10 IBM
Daniel Larsson [229] 229   Sweden 2012-2021 10 23 Ericsson
Vijay Narayanan [230] 229   USA 2004-2021 18 13 IBM
James W. Seaman [231] 226   USA 2005-2021 17 13 IBM
Michael A. Guillorn [232] 226   USA 2003-2021 19 12 IBM
Dureseti Chidambarrao [233] 225   USA 1995-2020 26 9 IBM
Craig M. Trim [234] 223   USA 2013-2021 9 25 IBM
Mukta Ghate Farooq [235] 222   USA 1993-2021 29 8 IBM
Rhonda L. Childress [236] 221   USA 2004-2021 18 12 IBM
Paul Ian Mackey [237] 220   Australia 2008-2016 9 24 Silverbrook Research
Maulik K. Shah [238] 220   USA 2011-2020 10 22 Sprint
Martin Langhammer [239] 220   UK 2001-2021 21 10 Altera
Manu J. Kurian [240] 219   USA 2015-2021 7 31 Bank of America
Kunal R. Parekh [241] 218   USA 1996-2021 26 8 Micron
Rajarshi Gupta [242] 218   USA 2004-2021 18 12 Qualcomm
Jed H. Rankin [243] 215   USA 2000-2021 22 10 IBM
Jonathan D. Dunne [244] 215   Ireland 2014-2021 8 27 IBM
Sebastian T. Ventrone [245] 214   USA 1989-2020 32 7 IBM
Jonathan J. Hull [246] 214   USA 1995-2020 26 8 Ricoh
Neelakantan Sundaresan [247] 214   USA 1999-2021 23 9 eBay
Bruce B. Pedersen [248] 213   USA 1992-2020 29 7 Altera
Steven J. Simske [249] 213   USA 2007-2021 15 14 HP
Shuji Nakamura [250] 213   USA 1994-2021 28 8 UC Santa Barbara
Gregory J. McAvoy [251] 212   Ireland 2003-2020 18 12 Silverbrook Research
Sergey Y. Shumarayev [252] 211   USA 2001-2021 21 10 Altera
Fredrik Gunnarsson [253] 209   Sweden 2002-2021 20 10 Ericsson
Arup Bhattacharyya [254] 209   USA 1974-2021 48 4 Micron
Sreekar Marupaduga [255] 209   USA 2010-2021 12 17 Sprint
David M. Durham [256] 208   USA 2003-2021 19 11 Intel
Paul W. Coteus [257] 207   USA 1992-2021 30 7 IBM
Michael K. Bugenhagen [258] 207   USA 2008-2021 14 15 Lumen Technologies
Timothy M. Robinson [259] 207   UK 2010-2021 12 17 KCI
Shogo Mochizuki [260] 206   USA 2015-2021 7 29 IBM
Lin Sun [261] 206   USA 2010-2021 12 17 IBM
Hiroshi (You) Yoshioka [262] 205   Japan 1997-2015 19 11 Toshiba
Patrick B. Usoro [263] 205   USA 1999-2016 18 11 General Motors
Robert E. Fischell [264] 205   USA 1963-2020 58 4 Angel Medical Systems
Sadeg M. Faris [265] 202   USA 1979-2018 40 5 Reveo

This table is usually updated every Tuesday evening in US Eastern time, and is current as of May 4, 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.
  • Residence: The country of inventor's residence listed in their most recent patent issuance.
  • 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 inclusionEdit

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.[266] 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.[267][268]

Significance of inventionsEdit

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 listsEdit

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.[269] 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":[270]

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"[271]) and 1790 Analytics[272] 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[273] 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,[271] 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"[274] 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:[275]

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:[276]

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:[277]

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:[278]

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:[279]

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:[280]

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,[281] which would place Hamilton at 6th rank for 2012.

Differences between listsEdit

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 alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ List of Edison patents
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  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
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  70. ^ Patents of Artur Fischer
  71. ^ Patents of Victoria Y. H. Wood
  72. ^ Patents of Anthony K. Stamper
  73. ^ Patents of Kai-Li Jiang
  74. ^ Patents of Ronald S. Cok
  75. ^ Patents of Louis L. Hsu
  76. ^ Patents of Robert S. Langer
  77. ^ Patents of Edwin H. Land
  78. ^ Patents of Belgacem Haba
  79. ^ Patents of Stuart C. Salter
  80. ^ Patents of Farhad Barzegar
  81. ^ Patents of Henri Dreyfus
  82. ^ Patents of Frederick A. Ware
  83. ^ Patents of Clyde C. Farmer
  84. ^ Patents of Heinz Focke
  85. ^ Patents of Pouya Hashemi
  86. ^ Patents of Mark I. Gardner
  87. ^ Patents of Ravi K. Arimilli
  88. ^ Patents of Lawrence A. Clevenger
  89. ^ Patents of Tenko Yamashita
  90. ^ Patents of Louis H. Morin
  91. ^ Patents of Tobin A. King
  92. ^ Patents of Thomas M. Willis III
  93. ^ Patents of Stephen E. Terry
  94. ^ Patents of Muhammad A. Kazmi
  95. ^ Patents of James M. Hart
  96. ^ Patents of Brian M. O'Connell
  97. ^ Patents of Valentina Salapura
  98. ^ Patents of Jack A. Mandelman
  99. ^ Patents of John L. Melanson
  100. ^ Patents of Brent A. Anderson
  101. ^ Patents of Vincent J. Zimmer
  102. ^ Patents of Eberhard Ammermann
  103. ^ Patents of Thomas E. Murray
  104. ^ Patents of Robert Bennett
  105. ^ Patents of Hongyong Zhang
  106. ^ Patents of Donald J. Barnickel
  107. ^ Patents of Scott H. Wittkopp
  108. ^ Patents of Xuemin (Sherman) Chen
  109. ^ Patents of Michael (S.) Tsirkin
  110. ^ Patents of Gary W. Grube
  111. ^ Patents of John Hays Hammond, Jr.
  112. ^ Patents of Hossein Eslambolchi
  113. ^ Patents of Assaf Natanzon
  114. ^ Patents of Cary L. Bates
  115. ^ Patents of Wilhelm Brandes
  116. ^ Patents of Bengt Lindoff
  117. ^ Patents of Stanford R. Ovshinsky
  118. ^ Patents of James E. Bostick
  119. ^ Patents of Paul Marinier
  120. ^ Patents of Akira Nakazawa
  121. ^ Patents of Jeffrey E. Stahmann
  122. ^ Patents of Timothy J. Slegel
  123. ^ Patents of Greg R. Dhuse
  124. ^ Patents of Dean L. Kamen
  125. ^ Patents of Paul W. Dent
  126. ^ Patents of Josef Theurer
  127. ^ Patents of David V. Horak
  128. ^ Patents of Wael W. Diab
  129. ^ Patents of John M. Ganci
  130. ^ Patents of Hans-Joachim Santel
  131. ^ Patents of Elizabeth A. Sweeney
  132. ^ Patents of Philip D. Nguyen
  133. ^ Patents of Gisela Lorenz
  134. ^ Patents of William Daniel Hillis
  135. ^ Patents of George P. Liang
  136. ^ Patents of Norman M. Berry
  137. ^ Patents of Garry R. Jackson
  138. ^ Patents of Carl J. Radens
  139. ^ Patents of Wesley B. Legette
  140. ^ Patents of Hanson S. Gifford III
  141. ^ Patents of Patrick J. O'Sullivan
  142. ^ Patents of George Westinghouse
  143. ^ Patents of Andrew D. Baptist
  144. ^ Patents of Mark W. Kroll
  145. ^ Patents of Keith R. Walker
  146. ^ Patents of Ajith K. Kumar
  147. ^ Patents of Bor Z. Jang
  148. ^ Patents of Paul K. Dellock
  149. ^ Patents of Andrew J. Ouderkirk
  150. ^ Patents of Robert R. Schmidt
  151. ^ Patents of Steven L. Teig
  152. ^ Patents of Siddharth S. Oroskar
  153. ^ Patents of Daniel J. Winarski
  154. ^ Patents of Kulvir S. Bhogal
  155. ^ Patents of Chung-Lung (Kevin) Shum
  156. ^ Patents of Jennifer L. Hillman
  157. ^ Patents of Jasinder P. Singh
  158. ^ Patents of Paul R. Bastide
  159. ^ Patents of Aruna Zhamu
  160. ^ Patents of Stefan Parkvall
  161. ^ Patents of Liang Liu
  162. ^ Patents of Cyprian E. Uzoh
  163. ^ Patents of Christopher B. Locke
  164. ^ Patents of Frank J. Viola
  165. ^ Patents of Robert Baldemair
  166. ^ Patents of Victor S. Moore
  167. ^ Patents of Christian P. Jacobi
  168. ^ Patents of Sandeep R. Patil
  169. ^ Patents of Victoria Smith
  170. ^ Patents of Ramachandra Divakaruni
  171. ^ Patents of Dorin Comaniciu
  172. ^ Patents of Robert G. LeTourneau
  173. ^ Patents of Daniel C. Edelstein
  174. ^ Patents of Hui Zang
  175. ^ Patents of William R. Tonti
  176. ^ Patents of Brent Keeth
  177. ^ Patents of Madhusudan K. Iyengar
  178. ^ Patents of Adam Heller
  179. ^ Patents of Zine-Eddine Boutaghou
  180. ^ Patents of Jeffrey W. Sleight
  181. ^ Patents of Christopher J. Dawson
  182. ^ Patents of Zvi Or-Bach
  183. ^ Patents of Michael L. Fripp
  184. ^ Patents of Michael A. Rothman
  185. ^ Patents of Martin G. Keen
  186. ^ Patents of Corville O. Allen
  187. ^ Patents of Takeshi Chujoh
  188. ^ Patents of Choonghyun Lee
  189. ^ Patents of Craig E. Hampel
  190. ^ Patents of Bran Ferren
  191. ^ Patents of Sheldon K. Meredith
  192. ^ Patents of Ned M. Smith
  193. ^ Patents of Rajiv V. Joshi
  194. ^ Patents of Hartley Owen
  195. ^ Patents of Olga Bandman
  196. ^ Patents of Eran Steinberg
  197. ^ Patents of Diana Pani
  198. ^ Patents of Gary D. Cudak
  199. ^ Patents of Ilya Volvovski
  200. ^ Patents of Imad Libbus
  201. ^ Patents of Yoshihiro Kikuchi
  202. ^ Patents of Harry (Tom) Graef
  203. ^ Patents of Santokh S. Badesha
  204. ^ Patents of Nathan J. Peterson
  205. ^ Patents of Xin Miao
  206. ^ Patents of Matthew B. Trevathan
  207. ^ Patents of Johnny M. Shieh
  208. ^ Patents of Burkay Donderici
  209. ^ Patents of Stephen M. Trimberger
  210. ^ Patents of Al Chakra
  211. ^ Patents of Nobuyuki Taniguchi
  212. ^ Patents of Louis B. Rosenberg
  213. ^ Patents of David C. Gibbon
  214. ^ Patents of Dale W. Malik
  215. ^ Patents of James R. Kraemer
  216. ^ Patents of Gerald F. McBrearty
  217. ^ Patents of Benzion Landa
  218. ^ Patents of Philip S. Yu
  219. ^ Patents of Seung H. Kang
  220. ^ Patents of Thomas J. Kennedy III
  221. ^ Patents of Ilyas Mohammed
  222. ^ Patents of Stephen G. Perlman
  223. ^ Patents of Iana Siomina
  224. ^ Patents of Mark A. Horowitz
  225. ^ Patents of John A. Colgrove
  226. ^ Patents of Marco Pistoia
  227. ^ Patents of Aaron K. Baughman
  228. ^ Patents of S. Christopher Gladwin
  229. ^ Patents of Daniel Larsson
  230. ^ Patents of Vijay Narayanan
  231. ^ Patents of James W. Seaman
  232. ^ Patents of Michael A. Guillorn
  233. ^ Patents of Dureseti Chidambarrao
  234. ^ Patents of Craig M. Trim
  235. ^ Patents of Mukta Ghate Farooq
  236. ^ Patents of Rhonda L. Childress
  237. ^ Patents of Paul Ian Mackey
  238. ^ Patents of Maulik K. Shah
  239. ^ Patents of Martin Langhammer
  240. ^ Patents of Manu J. Kurian
  241. ^ Patents of Kunal R. Parekh
  242. ^ Patents of Rajarshi Gupta
  243. ^ Patents of Jed H. Rankin
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  264. ^ Patents of Robert E. Fischell
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