Orange County Business Journal

Top 10 in OC Continue Gains on Patents

Jane Yu Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The number of patents received by Orange County companies grew by nearly 7% in 2013 to 3,141, with the top 10 companies accounting for 56%, according to data compiled by Bruce Itchkawitz, a patent attorney at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP.

The Irvine-based law firm, which is the largest law office in OC, with about 170 lawyers, works solely on intellectual property matters. Itchkawitz keeps annual record of the number of patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Perennial leader Broadcom Corp. got 1,079 patents last year, down about 6% from a year earlier. The Irvine-based chipmaker accounted for a smaller share of the county’s total in 2013, with about 34%, compared with 39% in 2012. Allergan Inc., a drug maker in Irvine, inched up one spot, to No. 2, after a 77% year-over-year increase in patents to 196.

Disk drive maker Western Digital Inc., also in Irvine, received 160 patents, up 38%. It dropped one spot to No. 3.

Santa Ana-based Abbott Medical Optics Inc., a developer of eye-care technologies, got 71 patents, up 29% year-over-year.

BSH Home Appliance Corp. nearly doubled the number of patents it received in 2013 to 57. The increase pushed the Irvine-based company up three spots to No. 5. BSH Home Appliance, a manufacturer of high-end appliances, is part of BSH Bosch and Seimens Home Appliances Group in Munich.

Irvine-based heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. received 43 patents, up 43%, picking up after a year-over-year decrease in 2012.

No. 7 Vizio Inc., which makes televisions and other consumer electronics, also got 43 patents, more than double year-over-year.

Newport Beach-based chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. had 37 patents, up 85%.

NetLogic Microsystems Inc., which operates as part of Broadcom and operates in Santa Clara, more than tripled its number of patents, to 36.

Rancho Santa Margarita-based Applied Medical Resources Corp. saw a 13.5% drop in its patents last year to 32. The decrease pushed the medical-device company down four spots to No. 10.

The percentage increase of patents obtained by the 10 largest OC companies lagged the nationwide increase of 9.5%, while the increase for the top nine OC companies, without Broadcom, was 14.6%.