SAN FRANCISCO—Apple Inc. has roughly 15,500 patents, about 8.500 of which are U.S. patents, according to a new report detailing the tech giant's patent portfolio.
Apple is named as the assignee of 84 percent of its patents, according to the report, which was published by UBM TechInsights. UBM TechInsights is owned by the same parent company that owns EE Times, UBM plc.
The assignee field is left blank in about 10 percent of Apple's patents, although most appear to be Apple-generated, according to the report. Third-party acquisitions account for just over 5 percent of Apple's patents, while individual investors account for less than 0.5 percent, the report found.
Among Apple's top 25 inventors is co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, according to the report.
"What is interesting to note about the acquisitions is the understanding it provides into the direction Apple is going with the removal of hard drives from all of its systems," said Gordon Holstead, a senior business analyst at UBM TechInsights, in a statement. "This change is already evident in current generations of Apple's iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air series.Apple will probably become the first company to move completely to solid-state solutions."
The report delves into litigation activities that involve Apple with a total of 41 plaintiff cases and 242 defendant cases, UBM TechInsights said. Litigation activities involving Apple have steadily increased since 2008, with 2011 being a record year, the firm said.
The report covers standards—a critical area in trying to understand the patent landscape, UBM TechInsights said. "We identify all patents that Apple has volunteered to be part of the standards, as well as how many times a particular patent has been used in a certain standard" said Holstead. "While none of these patents are used in litigation, it is possible that a follow-up patent could find itself in use in future cases."
The report can be obtained through UBM TechInsights' website.