UK company RS Components has performed a patent analysis of international quantum computing patent applications dating back to 1998. They started with the Patentscope data base collected by the World Intellectual Property Organization and searched for all applications that included the keyword “Quantum Computing”. The search was performed on October 17, 2019 and they found a total of 5,512 patents at that time. We summarize the highlights of the data below, however, there are a few caveats that we should mention.  First, a patent application is not the same as a patent granted.  Some applications are rejected because of prior art or other reasons.  Second, you may find some names on the list, such as Elwha LLC, that you may not recognize.  These are companies that collect or purchase patents with a business model of licensing them later on. (These companies are sometimes called “Patent Trolls”).  And finally, there may be some cases where the words “Quantum Computing” are contained in the patent application, but they are used in a different context than the quantum computing that we are familiar with.  You can view RS Components’ complete data set here and their comments on the analysis here.

Top 50 Applicants for Quantum Computing for the Period

Applicant (1-25) Number of Patent Applications   Applicant (26-50) Number of Patent Applications
Microsoft Corporation 425   Alibaba Group Holding Limited 20
Elwha LLC 332   Board of Regents, The University of Texas System 20
D WAVE SYSTEMS INC 307   Experian Marketing Solutions, Inc 20
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP 296   ISARA Corporation 20
Intel Corporation 242   NewSouth Innovations Pty Limited 20
Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation 143   HITACHI LTD 19
GOOGLE INC 125   1QB Information Technologies Inc 17
Marvell Technology Group 118   3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES Company 17
HEWLETT PACKARD CO 87   Seiko Epson Corporation 17
Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba 52   The Trustees of Boston College 17
NVIDIA CORP 49   CFPH, LLC 16
President & Fellows of Harvard College 48   Digital Doors, Inc 16
RIGETTI & CO INC 46   KOVIO INC 16
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 45   MagiQ Technologies, Inc 16
The Boeing Company 45   Paul Holman 16
ELEMENT SIX (UK) LIMITED 33   Accenture Global Solutions Limited 13
SOURCE PHOTONICS (CHENGDU) CO, LTD 32   Oxford University Innovation Limited 13
QUCOR PTY LIMITED 28   RAYTHEON CO 13
The Regents of the University of California 25   Sony Coorporation 13
ELLIS FRAMPTON E 24   LUTNICK HOWARD W 12
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO LTD 23   North Carolina State University 12
Bank of America Corporation 22   YALE UNIVERSITY 12
PsiQuantum Corp 22   MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO, LTD 11
Royce A Levien 22   The Regents of the University of Michigan 11
PURE STORAGE INC 21   JAPAN SCIENCE & TECH AGENCY 10



Total Number of Patent Applications by Year

Application Year Number of Patent Applications
1998 12
1999 22
2000 27
2001 74
2002 109
2003 157
2004 212
2005 255
2006 247
2007 202
2008 254
2009 186
2010 169
2011 167
2012 287
2013 353
2014 350
2015 432
2016 581
2017 619
2018 558

February 25, 2020